MOST PEOPLE, when faced with new information that has the potential to impact their lives, will take that information into account when considering their behaviors and lifestyles. When we found out that plastic water bottles were potentially ruining our lives, most of us immediately and dutifully started phasing plastic out and switched to safer options, but it seems that we didn’t get the entire story. Beyond being potentially carcinogenic in some circumstances, plastics are now developing a reputation for lowering women’s libido. Great. Just what we need.
The culprit behind this reduction in women’s sex drives is a group of chemicals called phthalates, which are presently incorporated into bottles in 25 different forms to increase the elasticity of plastics. Besides being present in plastic bottles, they’re found in many common household products, including convenient bendy things like your shower curtain, food packaging, sex toys, and even some of those coated supplements you take in an effort to be healthy, of all things.
Phthalates have been studied in the past and suspected to play a role in such biological phenomena as the “feminization” of boys, low sperm count in sexually-mature men, and speeding up the age that pre-adolescent children enter puberty, but most recently they were studied to discover what links, if any, they have to lowering women’s libido. The study was conducted by Dr. Emily Barrett at the University of Rochester in New York State, and then presented to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
The subjects for the study were 360 pregnant women, who lent their urine for testing of levels of phthalates and lent their memories of losing interest in sex (or not) during their pregnancies. This, of course, required that the women accurately remember the levels of friskiness they were feeling after the moment they got knocked up, but the ones that reported desiring their men a little less had two-and-a-half times as much phthalates in their urine as the rest — because, yes, every single woman that participated in the study exhibited some amount of phthalates in her urine.
So what can you do to get away from these nasty little chemicals? Switch over to an organic and “clean” lifestyle? The exorbitant cost of organic foods and products makes that an option that not every woman will be able to afford and, frankly, the burden of avoiding toxic chemicals shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of consumers, especially when those chemicals are so prevalent in the items that consumers use on a daily basis. When manufacturers got wind of the fact that phthalates prove hazardous to human health, they should have immediately halted phthalate usage in their products and pull existing products containing them from shelves. Or at least take responsibility and start the process of doing that. But with manufacturers staying mum on this latest development, it seems that consumers will have to take matters into their own hands if they deem the risk high enough. If phthalates are something you’d rather not mess around with, you should avoid fast food, steer clear of PVC plastics, and forgo purchasing anything with a #3 recycling label or “added fragrance” in the ingredients. All of those are potential danger zones. As are rubber duckies, which is a real bummer for bath time.