A – Z of Toxicity in our home – Phthalates

  • Pronounced ‘thalates’, they are salts or esters of phthalic acid.
  • Phthalates are used in a variety of personal care products as fragrances – to make them linger.
  • They are also used as a lubricant in cosmetics.
  • Commonly found in plastic food and drink containers they are also present in our food and water (from pesticides sprayed on our food), in dairy products and meats, plastic toys and medical instruments amongst a host of other consumer products.
  • Phthalates are thought to mimic, displace and disrupt our hormones, which subsequently lead to imbalances in our body.
  • The two phthalates most extensively used in cosmetics are: Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) Diethyl phthalate (DEP).
  • Found in:
    • Perfume, fragranced lotions, body washes and hair care products, talc, deodorant, nail polish and treatment as well as hair spray.
    • Even products labeled “unscented” contain phthalates as a chemical scent masking agent

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