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Children's Health

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Special Report: The New Boys' Health Scare

Male infertility appears to be on the rise, and studies suggest that more boys are being born with genital malformations. Could chemicals in our air, our homes, and even our kitchens be the cause?

Why It May Be Smart To Change Our Ways

Product manufacturers often argue that most animal studies use large doses of EDCs, and that the amounts humans are likely to receive from any one product are much lower. But every scientist we contacted for this story brought up the fact that in the real world, humans aren't dosed with only one chemical at a time: From the moment we wake up and brush our teeth with antibacterial toothpaste, swipe on mascara, spray a little air freshener, eat some canned soup for lunch, we are receiving constant tiny doses of EDCs, and they mix in our bodies. "It is the source of some of the greatest fear: the unknown of what we might be exposing ourselves to inadvertently, or just because it all adds up," says Jackson.

Although the full picture isn't yet painted, it is clear that people like Brandie and Karly, who are actively trying to reduce their family's exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, aren't acting crazy. Even the most conservative doctors and scientists — like Barthold and Sharpe, who don't believe the case against EDCs has been proven yet — agree it's a good idea for parents to reduce their household's exposure to these chemicals, especially when a woman is pregnant. "Scientists realize that there may never be a smoking gun, but nonetheless, when their daughters get ready to have children, they say, 'Stay away from EDCs,'" says Snyder. As Sharpe says, why not avoid unnecessary chemical exposures? "It can do no harm, only potential good."

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