If you think kids are just plain rotten now, just wait a few years. The next generation is going to be the worst group yet.

It's not because of poor parenting (although that will certainly play its part). It's because of toxic chemicals.

A new study finds that phthalates -- estrogen-like chemicals found in plastics -- are turning kids into bratty little monsters with serious physical, mental, and behavioral issues.

Researchers measured phthalate levels in the urine of 319 pregnant women, and tracked the kids for three years. Even at the tender age of three, those problems were already cropping up.

The researchers found that boys and girls alike with the highest levels of prenatal exposure were more likely to have behavioral problems and delays in motor skills. Girls got a bonus: They were lacking in the brains department, too.

I feel bad for the teachers of tomorrow. They're going to have their work cut out for them, and this is going to get a whole lot worse down the road. The researchers say phthalates levels have skyrocketed since 2004, in some cases nearly tripling previous measurements.

Believe it or not, the problems don't end there. Like I said, this stuff acts like estrogen in the body, and other studies have shown it's practically turning boys into girls.

Some are even sprouting breasts! (Read about it here.) I'd crack a joke about a rise in male figure skaters in the coming years, but the delayed motor skills probably rules out that career path.

Naturally, you can't count on the government to help you out here. The Environmental Protection Agency says its so concerned by phthalate risk that it plans to add these chemicals to its list of things to be concerned about... one of these days.