Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Trying to Impress Imaginary Conservatives

If we wingnuts were macho paranoids, we'd be really worried about the latest environmentalist claim:

Chemicals found in a host of everyday products, from children‘s toys to cosmetics, are causing genital abnormalities in baby boys, a study suggests today.

Phthalates are substances used in the manufacture of thousands of products, including plastics, lubricants and solvents.


Women with higher levels of phthalate break-down chemicals, or metabolites, in their urine were more likely to give birth to baby boys with undescended or small testicles, and small penises.


A total of 134 boys, aged two to 30 months, were examined for the study.

The scientists first measured the distance between the anus and penis (anogenital distance, or AGD), which in rodents has been found to be a sensitive marker for the effects of chemicals that disrupt male hormones.

A comparison measurement called anogenital index (AGI) was then obtained by dividing an infant‘s AGD by his weight in kilograms. This was done to account for the fact that some babies were bigger than others.

Boys in the bottom quarter of the AGI scale were classified as having a “short” AGI. On average, the 24 boys who made up this group had an AGI 19% shorter than expected.

They were also much more likely to have genital defects, including undescended testicles, a “small and indistinct” scrotum, and smaller penis size.

They also have a tendency to speak with a pronounced lisp.

Let's see. They have a small sample size, an indirect method of identifying problems, a lack of discussion of whether the allegedly-real problems are statistically significant, and their best shot would be ridiculed if it came from conservatives.

By the way, how do you pronounce phthalate? Are there derivatives such as thallium phenylphthalate?


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