Phthalates: (pronounced "THAL-ayts")
One year ago if you had asked me what a phthalate was I would not have been able to even spell the word let alone explain what it might be, but a lot has changed since then. Very simply, phthalates are horrible.
What's So Bad About Phthalates?
1) Recent studies suggest that some phthalates can alter human male reproductive development.
Basically, when a woman is pregnant and is exposed to phthalates it mimics hormones that change the hormones within the baby she is carrying (specifically estrogen). For females, this is not really an issue, but if the baby is a boy, it appears to be changing their reproductivity. They have documented a high phthalate level in baby boys with smaller penis size and these boys are more feminized.
2) In the United States, there is no requirement that products be labeled as to their phthalate content.
This makes it very difficult for people to make decisions about the products they would like to buy. The food industry has to clearly label ingredients, but the cosmetic and toy industries do not have to tell us what they put in their products. 60% of what goes on your body ends up in your body. Essentially your body is digesting what goes on the skin, yet we are not made aware of what those substances are. I am not ok with that, period.
3) There are (limited) studies that suggest a link between phthalate exposure and cancer.
Yes, I agree many other things could be causing cancer, but it seems most logical that an endocrine disruptors, like phthalates, might be a highly likely candidate. Not to sound like a conspirator, but money quiets legislation and propaganda brainwashes. The public is lead to believe the products on shelves are "safe." Research is now showing this is not as true as we were told.
4) Do I really need to go on?!?!?
What Are Phthalates?
Phthalates are also known as "plasticizers." Phthalates are added to PVC (polyvinyl chloride) to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. They form nonpermanent bonds that are easily released. As plastic ages and breaks down, the rate that phthalates are released increases. (You know that film that forms on the inside of your car windshield? That is actually a layer of phthalates from your vinyl dashboard breaking down. Gross. I know.)
Where Can You Find Phthalates?
enteric coatings of pills
liquid soap (*The Honey B Soap Company's soap is phthalate-free)
soft plastic fishing lures
How Do I Avoid Phthalates?
1) Read Labels! Do I have that list memorized? Heck no! However, I do watch for the word "Fragrance/Perfume" because that is most likely phthalates.
2) Buy plastics that are BPA-free. This will help limit your exposure.
3) Eliminate plastic as much as possible. I have tried to eliminate as much plastic as possible, but it is harder than you would think. Any decrease in your exposure is better for you.
4) Avoid recycle codes 3, 6, and 7.
5) Research. I know you are busy, but we are talking about your (and your children's) reproductive and general health here. You would not spoon-feed yourself or your child a mouthful of straight chemicals. So it is important to know what toys are ok for children, what lotions are safe, which soaps and cleaners to purchase to not exposure yourself and family to these toxic chemicals.
*The Honey B Soap Company is completely safe for you and your family. We only use natural ingredients and essential oils. We started out making body care products for our own children and wanted to give other families the same opportunity for safe products.
Quick Ideas to Reduce Exposure to Phthalates:
Buy in glass if possible. I use glass baby bottles and I have never had one break despite many falls to the floor.
Use silicon for use with babies. (Pacifiers, bottle nipples, etc). The company Tiny Love offers great, safe baby toys.
Do not microwave in plastic.
Use a cloth shower curtain.
Buy natural body care products.
....what are your ideas?
Sheela Sathyanarayana, M. M. (2008). Baby Care Products: Possible Sources of Infant Phthalate Exposure. Elk Grove Village, IL, United States of America. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/121/2/e260.full