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CHEMICAL INDEX

Phthalates and PVC Plastics

Phthalates health concerns
What are Phthalates?
Phthalates are a group of industrial chemicals used to make hard plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more malleable or flexible. They can also serve as adhesives, dyes, or solvents in other products.
Health Concerns
Although the Center for Disease Control has not established a definitive list of health hazards caused by exposure to phthalates, health concerns should not be overlooked. Below is a list of health concerns that may be linked to exposure:
  • Reduced sperm counts
  • Testicular atrophy
  • Structural abnormalities in reproductive systems
  • Liver cancer
  • Poor sperm quality
  • Lower testosterone levels
  • Obesity
  • Reduced female fertility
  • Preterm birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Worsening of allergy and asthma symptoms
  • Behavioral changes
Where are Phthalates found?
Although not limited to the list below, Phthalates and PVCs can be found in:
  • PVC plastics
  • Toys
  • Food packaging
  • Hoses
  • Raincoats
  • Shower curtains
  • Vinyl flooring
  • Wall covering
  • Lubricants
  • Adhesives
  • Detergents
  • Nail polish
  • Hair spray
  • Shampoo
  • Blood bags
  • Cosmetics
  • Personal care products
  • Wood finishes
  • Insecticides
Tips to Avoid Exposure
  • Buy phthalate-free products. In particular, look for phthalate-free cosmetics, personal care products, cleaning products, detergents, and air fresheners. Unfortunately, manufacturers aren’t required to list phthalates on the label, so a term to avoid is the word “Fragrance” when listed as an ingredient.
  • Buy from companies that pledge to be phthalate free. Since manufacturers aren’t required to list phthalates on their labels, look to purchase from companies that have made a pledge not to use phthalates in their products!
  • Avoid buying products with a "PVC", "V" or "3" recycling code on the packaging. Common plastics products with these labels include vinyl toys, shower curtains, and gloves.
  • Regularly clean your vinyl flooring. If you home has vinyl flooring, use a damp mop on a regular basis to remove dust on the floor that may contain phthalates. If you’re looking for new options to replace your flooring, choose cork, linoleum, wood or stone.
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