Phthalates, pronounced “thay-lates,” are nasty chemicals that have an adverse effect on male sex organs. Reports have shown that they can damage sperm, alter genital development of baby boys, and cause infertility, liver and kidney damage. Around 80 percent of Americans have phthalates in their bodies; they do not build up, however, since we are constantly bombarded by them, levels may remain fairly unchanged.
How do they end up in consumer products? Manufacturers use them to make PVC (polyvinyl chloride, a.k.a. vinyl) plastics soft and flexible. Phthalates also help fragrance and color last longer in personal care and cosmetic items. Some consumer goods that may contain phthalates are: shower curtains, soft toys, vinyl flooring, garden hoses, artificial Christmas trees, IV bags and tubing.
What you need to watch out for:
· products with “fragrance” on the label (synthetic chemical mixtures where phthalates can hide; they can constitute 20% or more of the product)
· nail polish that contains dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
· PVC packaging: marked with the #3 recycling symbol
· PVC toys
· Vinyl windows & doors: opt for wood instead
· Vinyl plastic wrap & food storage: instead buy polyethylene plastic wrap and bags
Some good news: Recently legislators in the U.S. agreed to modified language that would permanently prohibit the sale of children’s toys and child care articles that contain more than 0.1% di-(2 ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP). Selling children’s toys or child care articles containing concentrations of more than 0.1% of diisononyl phthalate (DINP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) or di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP) will have an interim ban pending 18 months of safety studies.
You never need to worry about phthalates in products from Hothouse Botanicals. We do not use synthetic fragrance, we only use pure natural essential oils to scent our products, which are phthalate-free.