Scientists found that the compounds were linked to a low birth weight, which can increase the chance that a child will die in the first few weeks of life and lead to long-term health problems such as heart disease.
Researchers believe that exposure to the chemicals in the womb could inhibit the children's growth.
Previous studies have shown that the chemicals, called Phthalates, can have other effects on the human body, including reduced fertility in men.
The new study analysed blood and other samples taken from 201 newborns, 88 of whom were born weighing less than 2,500g (5.5lb).
Researchers found that more than seven in 10 of the babies had significant levels of the chemicals in their bodies.
Those with a low birth weight had, on average, around 30 per cent higher levels of phthalates than the other children, the findings, published in the Journal Of Paediatrics show.