We’re going on another deep dive today, to look at another commonly called out ingredient: “Phthalates”
You may have noticed that “no phthalates” signs started to show up on the packaging of items you purchase: plastic containers for food (Tupperware), various personal care products etc.
Maybe you even remember seeing a short documentary on TV or online once, but can’t quite remember what the problem was? You’ve come to the right place, let’s all get a refresher on what’s what.
- What are phthalates?
- What are they good for?
- What’s bad about them?
- How do we go forward?
What are Phthalates?Phthalates (read “Thalates”) are synthetic ingredients that are used in a number of applications. They are used to make hard plastics more flexible. Phthalates are often present in carpet backings, paints, glue, insect repellents, hairspray, nail polish, rocket fuel, wiring and cables, car interior parts, IV bags.[i]
How come we’ve surrounded ourselves with these phthalates? Because they’re super useful, and we’ve all become very accustomed to the properties they’re able to offer.
What are they good for?Phthalates allow plastics to withstand changes in temperatures - they help the plastic maintain flexibility in cold conditions, and stay intact in hot conditions [iii, v], so they’re often all around us: vinyl siding, garden hoses [ii], rain boots, wallpaper, synthetic leather etc.
They make fragrances last longer – That’s why they are often found in perfume, air fresheners, and heavily scented personal care products
The conveniences of modern life have therefore pushed us to surround ourselves.
What’s bad about them?All was well until in the 1960s, the National Toxicology Program found that blood that was stored in PVC bags(PVC contains phthalates) was accumulating phthalates. This meant that the ingredient was leaching out of the bag and eventually going into the blood. This prompted some research on what these ingredients would do one they are absorbed into the body.
It turns out that we get exposed by swallowing, smelling, and touching items that contain phthalates. The side effects that have been proven so far are: earlier than normal puberty in animal tests.[v]
In humans, it is harder to prove and study, but as of today, the World Health Organization(WHO) has classified phthalates as endocrine disruptors. You can read more about this on the ingredients page.
In addition, the European Union banned the use of certain phthalates in children’s toys with directives issued in 1999, and 2005. [ii]
How do we go forward?
Now that we know all this, we simply can’t ignore it, so we do our part by not using anything we’re not so happy to deliberately spread on ourselves. This is why we make sure to use scents that are certified phthalate free, and stay away from any other ingredient that may include it.
Now it’s your turn, share your thoughts and questions, and don’t forget to enter your email below to join our newsletter and be the first to know when the good stuff is ready for you to check out.