What they are:
Phthalates are used as plasticizers. Plasticizers are used to increase the plasticity or fluidity of a material. Phthalates are found in the coatings of pills, children’s toys, modelling clay, waxes, paints, printing inks, shower curtains, vinyl upholstery, adhesives, pesticides, floor tiles, food containers and wrappers, and cleaning materials. Cosmetics that commonly containing phthalates are: perfume, eye shadow, moisturizer, nail polish, liquid soap, and hair spray. As if that wasn’t enough, phthalates can also be found in modern electronics and medical devices like catheters and blood transfusion machines.
Why you should avoid them:
- Several types of phthalates are endocrine disruptors and linked to breast cancer. Endocrine distruptors can lead to: cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders.
- Phthalates can affect the mental development of unborn babies
The most common phthalates found in cosmetic use are: dibutyl phthalate (DBP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), di 2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), diisononyl phthalate (DINP), Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), di-n-octyl phthalate (DNOP), diisodecyl phthalate (DiDP), di-n-hexyl phthalate (DnHP), dimethyl phthalate (DMP), di-n-octylphthalate (DnOP), Bisphenol A (BPA)
The European Union has restricted the use of phthalates in children’s toys since 1999. In the USA, Section 108 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) became public law and states that it is against the law to “manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribute in commerce, or import into the United States any children’s toy or child care article that contains concentrations of more than 0.1 percent of” DEHP, DBP, or BBP.” The Canadian Cancer Society includes phthalates under its list of harmful substances and environmental risks.
Phthalates Regulations – Health Canada Fact Sheet
Report Finds Toxic Levels of Phthalates Lurking in Popular Back-to-School Items – Forbes