What are Phthalates and why are they so bad?

So, it has been forever since I have blogged, and I am wracking my brain on where to start.  There are so many things, yet I am still drawing blanks.  I think I will start with phthalates, pronounced “thalates”.

One of the choices that I have made while entering into this soap-making venture  is to be consciously aware of the additives that I put into my products and what are actually in these additives.  Phthalates are widespread, and there are many types of phthalates.  They are in many products, including soft plastic toys, hairspray, lubricants, fragrance and perfume to name a few.  Phthalates are even in some prescription medications.  Unfortunately, phthalates may not even be listed in an ingredient list, as they are one of many ingredients in fragrances.  As plastic toys do not have an ingredient list, of course one is not going to know what lurks beneath.  Have you heard of people avoiding some plastic bottles?  Phthalates might the reason.  I have even read that phthalates are used in the dashboards of cars, and when the cars sit in the sun, the oily residue that emerges and condenses on the interior of our cars’ windshield is phthalates.  So as you can see, phthalates are in a lot of products that we use on a daily basis.

With this in mind, why are phthalates so bad?  Studies show that men’s reproductive system is especially sensitive to phthalates, especially when exposed to them while in utero, with some phthalates producing extreme male genital defects.  Other studies have noted a reduction in semen production as well.  Phthalates have also been known to cause other reproductive and developmental toxicity.  This is all based on women being exposed to phthalates while pregnant. Phthalates exposure has been linked to breast cancer (especially if women have a predisposition to breast cancer) and testicular cancer in men.  Phthalates exposure has also been linked to neurological and behavioral difficulties.  Other studies have linked phthalates to obesity and a diabetic risk.  As of 2009, California has banned the use of phthalates in childrens’ toys and childcare articles.  It is illegal to sell, manufacture, or distribute these items.

With all of this in mind, you can see it is very hard to avoid phthalates or even know if they are in the products you are using.  When purchasing plastics, choose plastics with the recycling codes of 1, 2, or 5.  When purchasing cosmetic-type items, since phthalates won’t be on an ingredient list, choose a company that prides itself on using phthalates-free ingredients.  These companies will most likely make a note on the product that the item is phthalates free.   Simply Eden prides itself on using phthalates free fragrances in our products where fragrances are used.



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