Phthalates are added to vinyl to make soft and flexible plastic products, such as shower curtains. Phthalates are also found in scented products, coatings like nail polish and paint, and a variety of other consumer goods.
Phthalates are found in
- Products made from flexible vinyl plastics, sometimes called “PVC” or labeled with the recycling symbol “3”, including:
- Shower curtains, flooring, and coverings on wires and cables.
- School lunchboxes, binders, backpacks, modeling clay, and some soft plastic and inflatable toys.
- Some plastic food packaging and some plastic containers.
- Tubing and gloves used in food processing and medical care.
- Fragrances in some candles, air fresheners, and personal care products like lotions, perfumes, hair products, and deodorants.
- Some nail polish, paint, floor finishes, caulk, and adhesives.
- Some medications and dietary supplements.
Possible health concerns of some phthalates
- Can interfere with the body’s natural hormones.
- Can affect development in the fetus, infants, and children.
- Can decrease fertility.
- May contribute to allergies and asthma.
Possible ways to reduce exposure to phthalates
- Choose non-plastic alternatives when possible. Otherwise, avoid flexible vinyl plastics, sometimes called “PVC” or labeled with a “3”.
- Eat more fresh food and less processed and packaged food.
- Choose products that do not list “fragrance” on the ingredient label.
- Because phthalates come out of products and collect in dust, wash your hands often, especially before eating or preparing food, clean your floors regularly, and use a damp cloth to dust.
For More Information:
Biomonitoring California Information
Projects measuring Phthalates
Documents, Presentations, and Publications:
- Potential Designated Chemicals: ortho-Phthalates | Document | 07/02/2015: PotenDesig_orthoPhthalates_071615.pdf
- Potential Designated Chemicals: ortho-Phthalates | Presentation | 07/15/2015: orthoPhthalates071516.pdf
- Potential Priority Chemicals: ortho-Phthalates | Scientific document | 11/04/2015: PotentialPriority_orthoPhthalates_111815.pdf
- Presentation: Potential Priority Chemicals: ortho-Phthalates and PFASs | Presentation | 11/18/2015: PotentialPriorityChems111815.pdf