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Buzzword Patrol

What are Phthalates?

Phthalates are a group of industrial chemicals used to make plastics. They’re used to make plastics like PVC, but are also found in a lot of things we use everyday and should be a toxin we avoid. 3 Most Used Phthalates:

  • Dibutylphtalate (DBP)
  • Dimethlphtalate (DMP)
  • Diethylphthalate (DEP)

How are we exposed to Phthalates?

Phthalates are exposed to use through air, the environment, water, and through products such as shampoos, detergents, nail polish, perfumes, shower curtains, and even food. Kind of scary to know that something called “plasticizers” is found in so many things we use.

What are the Health Effects?

Endocrine system, reproduction, birth or developmental effects, brain and nervous system, etc. They also been correlated with diabetes and metabolic disorders. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s 2005 National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals they even linked phthalates to liver cancer. However, CDC says the actual health hazards to humans haven’t been “definitively established.” Now the government has put some bans on (6) Phthalates in cosmetics and children’s toys in 2008. Certain states and certain toy companies have also phased out the use of phthalates in toys (Lego, Gerber, etc.)


The Doctors recommended using botanically-derived essential oils instead of perfumes, but they need say to test it first to make sure you have no allergy to them.

Resources: Want to find out what phthalates or other toxins are in your cosmetics? Check out EWG cosmetic database.

Environmental Working Group

1 Comment for “What are Phthalates?”
  1. […] Phthalates are a toxic ingredient present in some skincare products. Research shows that they may also be linked to an increased risk of cancer. L’Oreal has banned the use of phthalates but they may still be used by other skincare brands, so look at the labels carefully. […]

    Posted by Hazardous Skin Products - Green Behavior | November 29, 2013, 1:30 pm
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