Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastics in manufacturing. It's also used to bind different chemicals together. They are found in a lot of personal care products such as Shampoos, conditioners, body sprays, hair sprays, perfumes, colognes, soap, and nail polish. You will also find them in other plastic products like shower curtains, medical tubing, IV bags, vinyl flooring and wall coverings, food packaging and coatings on time-release pharmaceuticals.
Whenever you use personal care products that contain these chemicals they are absorbed into the body. The skin is the largest organ in our bodies and it absorbs anything that is put on it – basically just as if you were swallowing it. This is the reason why its so important to be careful about any body products that you use.
There are some known health effects of using products with phthalates. A new study by the Mount Sinai Center for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research found a statistical association between prenatal exposure to phthalates and incidence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder years later. Phthalates are considered endocrine disrupters, and studies have shown a statistical association between phthalate exposure and male sexual development. Research has also shown phthalates disrupt reproductive development of male laboratory animals.
How to Avoid or Reduce your Exposure to Phthalates
Avoid shampoos, body wash, lotions, and other personal care products that list “fragrance” in the list of ingredients. These may contain phthalates. (Companies are not required to disclose the ingredients in their scents, and the industry says this phthalate is safe.)
Be careful with older plastic childrens toys becuase they may contain phthalates. The federal government recently banned the sale of toys containing any of six phthalates.
Replace your personal care products with products that are safe. Read all labels carefully. Here are some products I trust…
Make your own personal care products at home to ensure you know exactly what is in them. If you are interested in getting started making your own products check out my eBook, The Holistic Mama's Guide to Homemade Skin Care.
The Environmental Working Group is an awesome source for things of this nature. They have a list of products on their site that do not contain phthalates visit here: EWG