Phthalates may be on their way out. Home Depot recently announced it will phase phthalates out of flooring, and now the Consumer Safety Product Commission has proposed a ban on some of the most toxic phthalates in children’s toys and products. While you wait for the final bell to toll on these toxic chemicals–which soften plastics and stabilize artificial fragrances–here’s what you need to know.
1. Phthalates mess up your hormones. They’ve been linked to birth defects, learning disabilities and obesity, among other problems. The Environmental Protection Agency identified phthalates as “chemicals of concern.”
2. We are exposed to phthalates if we eat or drink something that’s been stored or served in plasticized plastic; children are exposed when they suck on or play with tainted toys.
3. Children are more affected than adults: The EPA notes that “children have the highest exposures to phthalates of all groups monitored.”
4. You can avoid phthalates by reducing the artificial fragrances in your environment, avoiding PVC/vinyl products and soft plastics in general. (No more rubber duckies!)
Meanwhile, keep an eye on the CSPC, which proposed that it maintain a ban on DBP, BBP, and DEHP, and extend it to DINP, DIBP, DPENP, DHEXP, and DCHP. The Natural Resources Defense Council released a public statement urging the CSPC to also extend the ban to DNOP, DIDP and DIOP, and to “continue to review and monitor the phthalates for which inadequate toxicity and exposure information is available.”
Sounds like good advice to me!