Phthalates (THAL-ates)

In my previous post I mentioned the chemicals PHTHALATES (pronounced as THAL-ates).  These are chemicals used to soften plastics to make it flexible and durable.

Below is a list of products that we should look into and be on the look out for these harmful phthalates.  These are general products, not brands.  All i intend to do is create an awareness among all of us.  It is not my intention to put down anybody’s products or business.

1. Nail Polish

2.  Hair and Body Lotion

3. Hair Sprays

4. Hair Mousse

5.  Hair Gel

6.  Fragrance

7.  Deodorant

8.  Cooking oil Bottles

9.  Clear Food Packaging (Number 3 Plastics)

10. Disposable plates  (Number 6 Plastics)

11. Cups

12. Meat trays

13. Egg cartons

14. Carry-out containers

15. Baby bottles

16. Three- and five-gallon water bottles

17. Certain food containers

18.  adhesives

19.  Lacquer

20.  Vinyl flooring


The culprits

Check your product labels, if you see even just one of the chemicals below please if you can avoid buying it.

Diethyl phthalate (DEP)

Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)

Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)

Butylbenzyl phthalate (BBzP)

Diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)

Dimethyl phthalate (DMP)


Bisphenol A (BPA)

Vinyl (V or PVC)



DEHP and DBP are especially found to cause disruption in the proper reproductive development in male embryos by reducing the testosterone production.  They are also known to have negative effects on the growth factors in young males.  They could also lower sperm count, and general functioning of the sperm. Other effects include asthma, reduced female fertility, liver and kidney problem, and cancer. Bisphenol A in particular is found to cause neural and behavioral problems in children.


Protect your family

Although government regulation in most countries regarding the usage of these chemicals in products is not clear, there are number of ways we can reduce exposure.

We need to be vigilant, always be on the look out for the these harmful chemicals listed above.  If one or two are listed on the product label, then think twice before buying it. Buy products that have  phthalate-free and BPA-free labels on it.  Also, avoid soft plastics and soft vinyl products especially those that have a very strong plastic odor.

Do not limit yourselves with the products listed above.  Whenever you are about to buy plastic products or products with plastic in/on it, or products that have fragrance, always make it a habit to check the label.

It would not hurt also if we have the list of chemicals at hand every time we go to the grocery.

But by far, the best thing we can do, which is quite difficult to do in this plastic-infested-modern world is to cut the use of plastic in our household and use ceramics and tempered glasses instead.  Only in this manner we can truly be sure that our family is not exposed to any of these hormone-disrupting chemicals.


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18 thoughts on “Phthalates (THAL-ates)

  1. Thanks for the helpful info! I’ve been trying to make an effort to go plastic-free at home by using canvass bags for grocery shopping and switching to glass food keepers instead of plastic. Slowly but surely!

  2. I am trying hard to live a plastic free life as well as phthalates. IT freaks me out to know that these are bad enough leaching in our food, but when you put hot food in plastic it makes it way worse. Coffee makers are one of the biggest culprits. We don’t think about it because the decanter is glass, but the rest of the coffee maker including the filter is plastic…

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