Phthalates also called phthalate ester is a chemical compound mainly used in plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability and longevity. Phthalates aren’t one chemical, they’re a whole family of them. And like most families, they don’t behave in similar ways.
Three of them, BBP, DBP, and DEHP, are permanently banned from toys and products intended to assist children age under 3 sleep, eat, teethe or suck.
Colourless, odourless high phthalates are utilized in a wide variety of products that demand high performance and durability. High phthalates are primarily accustomed to soften or “plasticize” vinyl. They’re tightly bound into the structure of the vinyl for the reason they don’t easily migrate out of the product or evaporate. While they can be utilized in a range of applications, different types of high phthalates aren’t necessarily interchangeable.
The characteristics of a private phthalate often make it well-suited to a selected product, allowing manufacturers to satisfy unique requirements for its use (function and safety specifications), appearance (texture, colour, size and shape), durability and wear.
How does it affect humans?
Well, they’re used in everything from household cleaners to food packaging to fragrance, cosmetics, and personal-care products. their ubiquitous usage are not listed on product labels, phthalates are next to impossible to avoid.
In food, for instance, even milk packaged in glass may have skilled plastic tubes on its way from the cow to the bottle, taking DEHP alongside it. Milking machines use a lot of plastic and DEHP is free and really lipophilic (fat-soluble), and milk is filled with lipids, so it just pulls the DEHP out of the plastic tubing and into the milk.
Derma absorption also occurs at a significant rate from personal and beauty care products. Though the concentration of the chemical may be less over a prolonged use the chemical composition in the skin will increase leading to tissue damage
(Read more about the study at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0278691513008557)
How can you protect yourself?
Our body is equipped with the natural detoxifying system, Research suggests that, try to avoid the harmful phthalates as much as possible
Here is the best way to start:
- Read product labels. Phthalates aren’t always mentioned on labels, especially with “care” products, vinyl or plastic toys. It’s usually identified with an acronym like DHEP or DiBP.
- Choose items labelled “phthalate-free”, “microwave safe” and phthalate-free containers and wrapping — especially if you are using for oily or fatty foods.
- Watch what you eat. Studies show that diets high in dairy and meat bring high levels of phthalate exposure.
- Avoid fast food, researchers have found that fast food containers are often a source of harmful exposure.
- Ask for phthalate-free medical devices if you’re on kidney dialysis or receive a blood transfusion.