Phthalates are in everything. No, really, simply everything. If I listed them here, we would have enough words to publish a book. They can be found in cosmetics, cleaners, furniture, plastic or vinyl anything, flooring, wood products, metal products -- even your tap water. Right now, any plastic container in your home that is squeezable contains phthalates. Why? Because they are used to make hard plastics and vinyls soft and pliable. They seep out of your vinyl flooring. Do you walk around barefoot? Well, if so, you are absorbing the phthalates through your feet (the largest pores on your body) and into your bloodstream. Scary thought.
A little history: remember when we tried to avoid PVC? Well, that's a phthalate. We replaced it with, guess what?? More phthalates. Same thing with BPA. Consumers pitched a fit when they figured out what that was... so they replaced it with BPS. Bet it doesn't surprise you when I tell you BPS is also a phthalate... and linked to just as many issues as BPA.
In the past few years, researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues.
In 2014, the most comprehensive report on phthalates to date was published by the Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel. It is over a hundred and fifty pages of evidence that phthalates are toxic -- a known human carcinogen -- and yet, by current law, they are not required to be listed in any product and fall into the "other ingredients" on the label.
The truth is... we just can't get away from them at this point, but we can limit our exposure by eliminating the phthalate items we use every day. Start looking for green ingredients and labels with full disclosure of products and chose products in glass containers when possible. Avoid the recycle code-3 number on products. Make as many of your own products as you can -- its relatively easy, inexpensive, and fun.