What Are Phthalates?
Phthalates (pronounced f-THAL-ates) are esters of phthalic acid (which takes its name from naphthalene). They are commonly used as plasticizers, to stabilize or soften plastics. In addition to being used in plastic, they are also often found in gelling agents, stabilizers, paint, caulk, pharmaceuticals, waxes and food products.
Why Does It Matter?
Phthalates have been implicated in a number of illnesses and diseases. While their full-reaching effects have yet to be fully researched, there are several compelling areas of concern.
Two studies (Davis et al. (1994) and Lopez-Carillo et al. (2010)) provide evidence that phthalates cause a hormonal disruption that can contribute to the development of breast cancer.
A US study of men found a correlation of the presence of four types of phthalates in the urine and increased waist size, as well as the presence of three types of phthalates and insulin resistance, which is a precursor to Type II diabetes.
According to NIH, “An increasing number of studies sampling human urine reveal the ubiquitous phthalate exposure of consumers in industrialized countries. At the same time, recent toxicological studies have demonstrated the potential of the most important phthalates to disturb the human hormonal system and human sexual development and reproduction. Additionally, phthalates are suspected to trigger asthma and dermal diseases in children.”
Di-isononyl phthalate (DiNP) has been linked to genital defects and reproductive impairment in men.
A 2009 study illustrated a significant correlation between levels of phthalate levels in urine of children and symptoms of ADHD.
The bad news it that it is impossible to eliminate exposure to phthalates. They are in so many products (children’s toys, inflatable toys, paint, foods, fragrances....the list goes on and on). A conscious consumer can decrease their exposure by educating themselves and trying to choose products that a phthalate free.
Most soft, squeezable plastics contain phthalates. Even if you’re choosing phthalate-free products, make sure the packaging is also phthalate free by checking the recycling code - if it is not 3. There is some evidence that recycling code 1 can also leach phthalates into the product. It is believed that the phthalates are possibly introduced to the plastic through recycling. This is important because phthalates bond relatively loosely to plastic, so leaching from the plastic to the product is possible. AloeVender selects plastics that are free from phthalates for our products.
Phthalates are found in many cosmetics and personal care items includingeye makeup, perfume, finger nail polish, liquid soap and hair products. They are frequently hiding in items containing the vague ingredient “fragrance”, as the FDA does not require the components of “fragrance” to be individually identified. As it turns out, many fragrances contain phthalates. Thus, if you are concerned about limiting your exposure to phthalates you should consider avoiding products that list “fragrance” among their ingredients. At AloeVender our products use only natural essential oils to achieve the desired scent, never artificial fragrances, and we make a conscious effort to keep our products phthalate free.