Phthalates (pronounced THA-lates)
Phthalates are some of the more widely known bad guys when it comes to toxic chemicals. And their easy leech-ability makes them quite dangerous when in contact with us humans.
They are used to soften plastic so think all things made of plastic including food wrap, children toys, building materials and medical equipment. They also are found in many cosmetics and body care products, such such as nail polish and moisturizers.
Phthalates are hormone disrupters, and specifically harmful to the reproductive and thyroid hormones. They are linked to breast cancer, endometriosis, adenoymosis, uterine tumors and asthma and skin allergies in children. They are also known to contributors to obesity, insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes.
They are known to cause developmental issues in fetuses and infants such as undescended tests, decreased genital size and lower testosterone in males. In adult men, they are linked to reduced sperm motility and sperm count, increased damage to DNA in sperm, insulin resistance and obesity.
In 2008, the US banned manufacture, sale or import of any children toy or child care article that could be placed in a child’s mouth with more than 0.1% phthalates. So you know they have got to be quite bad. This is a good start, but there are a lot of toys made before then that are still in circulation amongst our children.
And what is worse, is that phthalates are still unregulated in food, cosmetics, and medical products in the US.
While it may seem impossible to avoid phthalates completely, the good news is you can reduce exposure.
- Avoid cosmetics and body care products that are NOT labeled phthalate free
- If a product lists “fragrance” as an ingredient, there is a 72% chance it contains phthalates, so avoid those too
- Eat less packaged food
- Do not microwave food in plastic containers and/or with plastic wrap on top!
- Avoid nail polish that contains dibutyl phthalate
- Types of phthalates include DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP, DnOP so nothing on the label with these
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