Do you know what Phthalates are and are they making you sick?

phthlatesWhat are phthalates? They are a group of chemicals that make products like plastic more pliable and softer. They help lubricate, penetrate and soften, and help fragrances last longer, but at what cost to our health?

Phthalates are known as endocrine disruptors because they mimic the body’s hormones and can interfere with natural hormone activity. This can cause abnormalities in the body and may lead to fertility problems and cancer.

Your morning ritual: You get up, have a shower, shave, put on makeup if you are woman, along with hand cream, body cream, hair gel, nail polish, perfume and the list goes on. Then you go downstairs put in a load of washing using fragranced soap, and perhaps you even have an air freshener in your home. Microwave your leftover breakfast in a plastic container, then get into your new car that has been sitting in the sun and breath in that new car smell as you drive to work. Think nothing is wrong with this picture, think again.

Phthalates are in personal care products: shampoo, cream rinse, soap, body wash, makeup, hand cream, shaving cream, deodorants, perfumes, plastic containers, household cleaners, flooring, shower curtains, toys, electronics, insecticides, plastic wrap, furniture, plastic baby bottles, baby powder, toys, IV equipment, catheters and new cars just to name a few.

Statistics: The average woman before she leaves her home will have put on an average 123 chemicals onto her body.

Children are especially vulnerable to phthalates as they tend to play with toys and then put their fingers in their mouths.phthlates 1

Manufactures are not required to list phthalates on labels and may simply list them as fragrances.

Suggestions to reduce phthalates:  Use glass and stainless steel for storage and drinking. Don’t microwave food in plastic containers, or put plastic containers in the dishwasher as the heat allows the chemicals to leach out.

Buy natural shampoos and soaps and avoid putting chemicals in your skin.

Avoid canned goods, as BPA is a type of phthalate used to line cans. Stick to fresh vegetables and foods in glass jars. Avoid canned baby formula.

Don’t buy vinyl or PVC products, pacifiers and toys that contain phthalates. Try a cloth shower curtain and look for natural paints when painting, and avoid air fresheners.

If you have a new car, leave the windows open and air it out.

Start to demand that your products be manufactured without phthalates.

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Shirley Plant is the author of Finally… Food I Can Eat, a dietary guide and cookbook for people with food allergies. Shirley also offers dietary consulting and menu planning via Delicious Alternatives


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About the Author

Written by: Shirley Plant
Shirley Plant is a nutritionist and the author of Finally… Food I Can Eat, a dietary guide and cookbook for people with food allergies, and those looking for healthy, tasty recipes. Shirley offers dietary counselling and menu planning through Delicious Alternatives.

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