Women exposed to endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonly found in plastics during pregnancy are at a higher risk of experiencing postpartum depression, suggested a new study. The findings of the study were published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. The study also found that these harmful chemicals may influence hormonal shifts during pregnancy. Postpartum depression is a serious and common psychiatric disorder that affects up to 1 in 5 childbearing women. The cause of postpartum depression is not well understood, but hormonal changes during pregnancy have been found to be an important factor. Harmful chemicals such as bisphenols and phthalates that are found in plastics and personal care products are known to affect sex hormones. “We found that phthalate exposure was associated with lower progesterone levels during pregnancy and a greater likelihood of developing postpartum depression,” said study author Melanie Jacobson, Ph.D., M.P.H. of the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, N.Y.