Phthalates- What Are They And How Do They Affect Us?

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We encounter Phthalates every single day. These are simply the chemicals that are present in most plastics around us. You only need to pick up food packaging to validate this point. But, the problem arises when these harmful chemicals get inside the food particles too. If observed under a powerful microscope, one would be able to find phthalates in almost everything. These could be in your soap, your shampoos, or the laundry detergents. To think of the present day, the American Journal of Public Health has put it up in the news. Most scientists have been calling for an improved federal regulation for these chemicals. 

A Federal Regulation Is Imminent

Most scientists have been rallying for federal agencies to totally eliminate phthalates from products that children and pregnant women mostly use. This comes as a response to the lax attitude incorporated by federal regulation- despite imminent warnings of the harm caused by these chemicals. Annie’s, one of the food brands owned by General Mills has displayed that it is possible to manufacture products without using the chemical. This indicates that we incorporate strict rules, people would be able to follow them. 

Here are a few problems frequently posed by Phthalates, that can be fatal to children. But before that, we need to have an in-depth discussion of the harmful effects of these chemicals. 


Who Is At Risk From Phthalates?

Phthalates, to be precise, are chemicals that are typically used to design and create plastic. They are the primary chemicals behind making plastic much harder to break while making it more flexible. Now, the general public needs to understand that the over-abundance of such a chemical doesn’t mean it is useful- it is especially harmful to pregnant women and children. Beauty products for minority women, especially, have high levels of the chemical. Even young children and babies can have high levels because they often try to bite plastic products.

The design of the chemicals disrupts one’s endocrine glands- which are the main messengers of hormones in the human body. There have been studies that indicate that the presence of phthalates in the body of a pregnant woman can lead to them going into labor early. A few other studies have also reported that most babies born to such a chemical usually develop a much lower IQ while bringing forth poor development in social communication skills. These kids are also more prone to behavior problems along with ADHD. Scientists have observed that these harmful chemicals also affect the development of genitalia in male infants. 

Children At Risk From Phthalates

It is frequently reported that phthalates are found in almost every single thing around us, but it is the minority population that seems to be burdened with the diseases. Most of the beauty creams that have this demographic usually contain phthalates. Children and infants are also at high risk due to their propensity to put things in their mouths. One could put up child-proof security throughout their house, but an infant might still put a plastic toy in their mouth. 


Phthalates also pose a risk to most dietary regimes since they enter the chain of supply at will. Sometimes, these harmful chemicals are found in the plastic tubing that contains liquids during their production. It has been observed that food items which have a high quantity of fat in them are capable of absorbing phthalate through their exposure. If you think that eating out would solve the problem- well that’s a no-no too/ Recent studies have shown that people who go to restaurants to eat are at a state of risk too. 

How Should One Know If Their Product Contains Phthalates?

It is not easy for the general public to identify which products have phthalates and which don’t. Although there are some products that would have these chemicals listed, most others don’t. Sometimes they come under fragrant requirements- thereby excluding them from the list.

Nonetheless, there are quite a few companies that have removed phthalates from their products. Currently, several products come with the label ‘phthalate free’. The website called Skin Deep offers access to a database of personal care and cleaning products and the chemicals that are used to make them.

How Does One Keep Their Family Safe?

This is the big question. Since phthalates obviously can be quite a fatal chemical to be around- how do you protect your family? Firstly, phthalates are capable of rapid metabolism- which means that they get flushed out pretty rapidly. Until the government brings out stricter regulation for such a chemical- your family could promote lesser levels of phthalate. 

The easiest way to do so would be by exchanging every food packaging unit with glass containers. In the event that this is not possible- one could also let the food cool down to room temperature and then place them in a plastic container. Also, it is advisable to not microwave any food item when they are still in their plastic coating. The phthalates can migrate from the plastic covering to food. 

One last way to solve the problem posed by phthalates is by checking the labels of food items that you buy. If you purchase anything with high amounts of phthalates, you could simply eat less food that is processed. Substitute eating out with cooking your meals at your home. 

Your and your family’s safety depends on how careful you are. Check labels, read studies, and follow the news to know what steps the government is taking regarding phthalates.

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