They're called phthalates (thal-lates) and bisphenol (bis-pheen-all).
Remember when child safety focused on things like seatbelts and stashing medicines and poisons in a safe place?
Today parents are wondering if they need to lock up the toys and teething rings.
It's the latest wave of concerns about chemicals in plastics and body products that have scientists at odds with each other, and the public in a bit of a panic.
Could the same products that moisturize and protect children's skin end up affecting their fertility? Clearly not a question most parents ponder in the grocery store - but one that hits at the core of ongoing scientific study, public debate - and hype - over the potential health impact of chemicals used to make personal care products and plastics.
"I've heard to avoid certain numbers a lot of the sippy cups, because of the phthalates," says one parent.
Phthalates are a family of chemical compounds, that soften plastic, and even help fragrances linger longer.
Bisphenol A, makes plastics clear and strong, and is in resins that coat the inside of canned foods.
The reason for concern? Evidence suggesting these compounds may affect the developing reproductive system.
Earl Gray with the Environmental Protection Agency studies phthalates in animals. "In the rat, we know that in utero the, several of the phthalates disrupt the testes function in the male so that he produces lower levels of hormones," says Gray. But figuring out the human impact is proving to be quite a challenge for scientists. Meantime, what's a plastic-panicked parent to do? "Well, it's hard because the story is incomplete," Gray responds.
The Environmental Working Group's Sonya Lunder says concerned parents can take steps to reduce exposure. "Quick simple things parents can do - use fewer body care products on their children," says Lunder. Determining which products contain the chemicals isn't so simple, as they are not typically listed on labels. Lunder says, fragrance usually means a product contains phthalates and on plastics, the letters PVC or the number three. seven for bisphenol, which is also in canned food.
"Basically it's trying to be moderate without trying to be too extreme," she says. A task that's proving to be quite a challenge - for parents.
While scientists hash out the potential human health effects, one thing is for certain - these chemicals are everywhere.
Studies by the centers for disease control found phthalates (thal-lates) in the urine of seventy five percent of people tested, bisphenol (bis-pheen-all) was present in ninety five percent of study subjects. People are exposed to these chemicals through direct contact with products and by consuming food and drinks that come packaged in plastics that contain the compounds.