Phthalates are a group of chemicals made by humans that are associated with a variety of serious health issues. This family of compounds is sometimes referred to as everywhere chemicals since they are used in making numerous products people use every day. However, phthalates pose a significant health danger to all humans, especially females and children.
Most homes contain convenient plastic products made with phthalates. Phthalates help in making plastic unbreakable and flexible; they’re found in shower curtains, cosmetics, deodorants, medical devices, and car interiors, to name a few.
Phthalates are also used in baby bottles, inflatable toys, pacifiers, teethers, children’s toys, baby shampoo and lotions, and even rubber ducks.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the health risks for human exposure to low levels of phthalates are unknown. However, researchers at the CDC found measurable levels of many phthalate metabolites in the general population, which indicates that phthalate exposure is widespread in the U.S. population.
In addition, the CDC also found adult women have higher levels of urinary metabolites than men do for those phthalates used in cosmetics, soaps, body washes, shampoos, and comparable personal care products.
The CDC has this to say about low-level exposure to phthalates.
“Finding a detectable amount of phthalate metabolites in urine does not imply that the levels of one or more will cause an adverse health effect.”
However, phthalates are a known as an endocrine disruptor.
The National Resources Defense Council defines an endocrine disruptor as follows.
“An endocrine disruptor is a synthetic chemical that when absorbed into the body either mimics or blocks hormones and disrupts the body’s normal functions. This disruption can happen through altering normal hormone levels, halting or stimulating the production of hormones, or changing the way hormones travel through the body, thus affecting the functions that these hormones control.”
If you are expecting a baby or a parent of a young child, it’s highly recommended to know the dangers of phthalates and know how to minimize exposure to this dangerous and toxic chemical.
Look at the little triangle on the bottom of a plastic container. Avoid plastic containers that are marked with a 1 or a 7 pc. Reduce the likelihood of exposure to phthalates by choosing products marked with a 2, 4, or 5.
Glass baby bottles are highly recommended for babies who are not capable of feeding themselves.
Avoid using plastic containers in microwaves.
Whenever possible, choose fragrance-free products; don’t use vinyl toys, perfumed shampoo, and lotion in order to minimize exposure to phthalates.
Latex rubber nipples may contain phthalates; using silicone nipples when bottle-feeding may decrease phthalate exposure.
Companies are now manufacturing food containers, teethers, baby bottles, lotions, shampoo, and other children’s items that are “phthalate-free.” It’s important to read labels or check with the manufacturer to identify what you’re bringing into your home.
Reduce your exposure to this toxic everywhere chemical by taking time to learn more about phthalates.
[Photo courtesy of Saferstates]