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Phthalates

Phthalates
Phthalates are man-made chemical compounds that are primarily used as plasticizers (i.e., substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability and longevity), but they are also added to food, beverages, spices, drugs, fragrances, air fresheners and many personal care products.

Numerous studies have shown that phthalates are harmful and can cause multiple health effects including impaired sperm quality and motility, respiratory symptoms, thyroid problems, and negative effects on prenatal development, reproductive hormones and pregnancy outcome.

Phthalates are often mentioned in the news in connection with PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Phthalates and/or PVC products have been restricted or banned from toys and children’s products in several countries including the European Union, France, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Argentina, Greece, Italy, Norway and Sweden.

Several states and local governments in the U.S. have also banned certain types or uses of phthalates. In addition, many hospitals and healthcare facilities in the U.S. are reducing or phasing out the use of products with phthalates.

The Consumer Product Safety Bill of 2008 included a ban on certain phthalates in children’s toys. A few years later, in 2014, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a report that provided a summary of numerous studies regarding the health effects of phthalates. The CPSC also provided recommendations about banning several types of phthalates.

Phthalates are also included in a large category of chemicals that can cause endocrine disruption. 

As noted in our paper on the “Global Burden of Indoor Air Contaminants,” a 2016 report estimated the cost of healthcare and lost earnings due to illness caused by endocrine-disrupting chemicals at $340 billion in the U.S. They also provided an estimate of these same costs for Europe, showing an annual cost of $217 billion.
Phthalates

Phthalates are man-made chemical compounds that are primarily used as plasticizers, but they are also added to food, beverages, spices, drugs, fragrances, air fresheners and many personal care products.


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