Common Chemicals Lower Testosterone
Chemicals found in many household products may reduce androgen levels in both sexes.
Exposure to phthalates, chemicals that are commonly found in plastics and personal care products, may reduce testosterone levels in men, women, and children, according to research published online Aug. 14 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
John D. Meeker, Sc.D., and Kelly K. Ferguson, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, conducted a cross-sectional study using data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 2011 to 2012. The authors sought to assess the association between urinary concentrations of phthalate metabolites and serum testosterone levels in men, women, and children.
The researchers observed a strong and consistent inverse relationship between urinary concentrations of phthalate metabolites and serum testosterone levels in women aged 40 to 60 years. Among boys aged 6 to 12 years, an interquartile range increase in metabolites of di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate was associated with greater decline in serum testosterone levels (29 percent decrease; 95 percent confidence interval, 6 to 47 percent decrease).
Among men, significant associations or trends for decline in serum testosterone levels were found only for increasing urinary concentrations of metabolites of di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate and dibutyl phthalate in men aged 40 to 60 years.
"In conclusion, multiple phthalates were associated with significantly reduced levels of circulating testosterone in both males and females in differing age groups," the authors write.