By Erin O'Donnell

A new study suggests that phthalates, chemicals used to make plastic products flexible, may delay child development, The Washington Post reports.

Sometimes called plasticizers, phthalates are used in thousands of products, from shower curtains and garden hoses to water bottles and hairspray. Although scientists suspect that they cause health problems, little data has confirmed their effect on people.

More studies are needed because it's unclear how exactly phthalates act on the body, researchers wrote. These findings "raise a public health concern," but "should be interpreted with caution," they said.

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