What will it take to get rid of hormone-disrupting chemicals in our household products?
Phthalates are especially common in some plastic products because they’re used to make plastic soft and flexible. These plastics continually shed phthalates into our homes, where they build up in household dust. Toddlers especially, by frequently putting their hands in their mouths, ingest phthalates from the dust on their hands.
Phthalates are often a hidden ingredient in chemical fragrances used to scent our shampoos and house cleaners. We can absorb phthalates through our skin every day from these commonly used products.
A patchwork of regulations is growing, but phthalates are still widely used.
There are more and more government restrictions of phthalates in consumer products around the world.
In the U.S., three phthalates were banned in children’s toys and child care articles, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission has proposed extending this permanent ban to five more phthalates.
Several U.S. states require manufacturers to report some phthalates in certain products sold in those states.
Meanwhile, the European Union has prohibited all uses of four phthalates, with an additional nine slated for similar restrictions.
Still, phthalates remain widely used in products sold today, in consumer products used around the home, and in products used to process and package our foods.
The good news? Safer alternatives to phthalates are widely available to manufacturers, and many companies have already been proactive in making phthalate-free products. For instance, recently several of the nation’s retailers eliminated phthalates from all flooring sold in their stores.