What are they and why are they dangerous? How do they affect your health?
Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl. Phthalates are used in many consumer products, including:
Cosmetics and personal care products
Plastic and vinyl toys
Mini Blinds and wallpaper
Food packaging and wraps
Medical equipment and devices
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics
Phthalates had been used to make pacifiers, soft rattles, and teething rings, but have not been allowed in those products since 1999.
Where are Phthalates found?
Consumer products – many plastic, vinyl, and personal care products
Food and water – food or water packaged in plastic, or contaminated water
Air – vapors or dust contaminated with phthalates.
How can I be exposed to Phthalates?
Phthalates commonly enter(s) the body through:
Ingestion (swallowing): Eating food or water packaged in plastic, or drinking water contaminated with phthalates; for children, chewing on soft vinyl toys or products made with phthalates
Inhalation (breathing): Breathing dust in rooms with plastic mini blinds, wallpaper, or flooring that contain phthalates
Skin contact: Touching or using products made with phthalates
What happens when I am exposed to Phthalates?
The health effects of exposure to phthalates are not yet fully known but are being studied by several government agencies. One phthalate, Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), is an endocrine disruptor and can cause cancer. Some phthalates may affect human reproduction or development.
Who is at risk for exposure to Phthalates?
Consumers: Many consumer products are made with phthalates.
Infants & Children: Many children’s toys and products are made with phthalates.
Medical Patients: Dialysis patients, hemophiliacs, or people who received blood transfusions may be exposed to tubing or containers made with phthalates.