Dangers of Phthalates
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
- Shower curtains
- Mini Blinds and wallpaper
- Vinyl flooring
- Food packaging and wraps
- Plastic pipes
- Medical equipment and devices
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics
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.
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.