Phthalates are everywhere
Phthalates are commonly added to personal care products such as perfume and fragranced skin and body care , nail polish, and are used as solvents, plasticizers, and fixatives. They can also be added to polyvinyl chloride plastic products, such as plastic food packaging, clothing, and vinyl flooring. Interestingly, the researchers said “If phthalates are removed from plastics and other consumer products, we do have to be careful in the process to avoid replacing them with some other potentially harmful chemicals.” A good example of this is BPA free plastics that replaced bisphenol A with other bisphenols such as bisphenol-F (BPF) or bisphenol-S (BPS). The alternatives are just as toxic. Good for marketing, but terrible for your health.
Adverse health effects of phthalates
Phthalates can adversely affect your sex hormones. They have the ability to reduce luteinising hormone production, increase follicle stimulating hormone production and delay ovulation. They can also impair your body’s ability to manufacture sex hormones. Phthalates interfere with the action of insulin in your body, therefore make weight loss much more difficult, and can make it harder to control your blood sugar level. In some people, this can raise the risk of type 2 diabetes. Phthalates are also implicated as one cause of worldwide declining sperm counts.
Phthalates mimic the actions of oestrogen in your body, therefore pregnant women exposed to high levels of phthalates are more likely to give birth to sons with genital abnormalities. These include undescended testes (cryptorchidism) and hypospadias (where the opening of the penis is on the shaft, rather than on the tip). Boys with those conditions are at higher risk of testicular cancer in adulthood. Phthalates are also thought to contribute to early puberty in children.