Phthalates Plastics Health Risks
Phthalates Hidden in Plastics -- Urban Legend or Real Risk of Danger? I heard that phthalates found in plastics are harmful. Is this true?
Plastics have been at the forefront of urban legends, but in the case of phthalates there is legitimate concern. Phthalates are a group of chemicals called plasticizers that are added to vinyl plastics to make them flexible. They are commonly found in household and personal care items like toys, packaging, hoses, raincoats, shower curtains, nail polish and shampoo.
Unfortunately, exposure to phthalates is nearly ubiquitous through air, water, skin, food and even medical tubing.
Phthalates in the food system. Studies have found that phthalates may be found in fat-containing foods; migrate into foods from plastic food wrappings, recycled fiber materials like paper and possibly printing inks used on wrappers; and enter foods during processing due to the use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in food production and general contamination of the environment. Heating plastics can leach phthalates from containers into water and food.
On phthalate alert. To reduce exposures to phthalates, EWG suggests:
--Check the ingredient list of beauty products for dibutyl phthalate (DBP.)
--Use personal care and household products that do not contain "fragrance," which commonly includes the phthalate DEP.
--Avoid cooking or microwaving in plastic.
--Use a non-vinyl shower curtain.
--Use paints and other hobby products in well-ventilated areas.
--Give children phthalate-free toys.
--Urge medical facilities to reduce the use of products containing phthalates.
--Avoid products made of flexible PVC or vinyl plastic like PVC lawn furniture and building materials.
-- Visit Skin Deep (www.cosmeticsdatabase.com), EWG's database of personal care products with safety ratings based on toxicity.
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