Pregnant women who were exposed to high levels of two particular types of phthalates (chemicals found in cosmetics, food packaging, plastic toys, and vinyl flooring) had children that were 30% more likely to have language delays at age three.
Urine samples collected from the mothers in the 10th week of pregnancy revealed a correlation between phthalate exposure and language delay.
The two phthalates were dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP). Both chemicals are in products such as older vinyl flooring, cosmetics, and plastic toys.
While it is difficult to establish causation in this study, both DBP and BBP have been shown to lower testosterone in the mother during early pregnancy which could explain how they can affect intellectual development.