A study by researchers at the University of Michigan has found that pregnant women who delivered prematurely had higher phthalate levels than women who carried their babies to a full term. The researchers tracked 60 women as part of the survey - 30 of whom gave birth prematurely and 30 who had births at full term. They found that women who deliver prematurely had 3 times the level of phthalates in their urine as women who had full term deliveries.
Phthalates are commonly used compounds in plastics, personal care products, home furnishings (vinyl flooring, carpeting, paints, etc.) and many other consumer and industrial products. The toxicity varies by specific phthalates or their breakdown products, but past studies show that several phthalates cause reproductive and developmental toxicity in animals.