Prenatal (before birth) exposure to some toxins has been studied in mice and in humans. Exposure to phthalates, a class of toxins found in many products, has been shown to diminish male territorial behavior in mice. They have also been shown to decrease typically male play behavior in male children. In addition, male children can have reproductive organ abnormalities when mothers have high amounts of phthalates in their bodies.
Where do you get exposed to phthalates?
They are put in plastics to make them more flexible and they are put in lotions to help penetrate the skin. Phthalates are used in an enormous range of products, including air fresheners, plastic toys, flooring tiles, cosmetic and personal-care products (including fragrances and nail polish), vinyl, inks and adhesives. Phthalates are also used as food additives and as inert ingredients in pesticides.
Is our government looking out for you? Read this excerpt from the Environmental Working Group website:
No premarket safety testing is required for the industrial chemicals that go into personal care products or the chemical industry as a whole. According to the Office of Cosmetics and Colors at the federal Food and Drug Administration, “…a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.” (FDA 2012) The FDA does no systematic reviews of safety, instead authorizing the cosmetics industry to self-police ingredient safety through its Cosmetics Ingredient Review panel. Over its 36 years, this industry panel has rejected only 11 ingredients as unsafe in cosmetics (CIR 2012). By contrast, the European Union has banned hundreds of chemicals in cosmetics (European Commission 2012).
What to do?
Buy products that are free of phthalates.
Avoid buying plastics that may be treated with phthalates, including vinyl toys, shower curtains and gloves. Look out for “PVC,” “V” or the”3″ recycling code on the item or its packaging. Choose instead toys such as phthalate-free Legos or those made of unpainted solid wood and finished with tung oil or beeswax blocks. Ask for dolls that are phthalate-free. The Environmental Working Group has a helpful website. www.ewg.org
If you have vinyl flooring in your home, damp mop regularly since phthalates bind to dust on the floor. Direct sunlight on vinyl tiles causes them to release phthalates more quickly, so put lower blinds on windows that shine directly on flooring. Finally, if you’re already considering replacing your flooring, choose nonvinyl options such as cork, linoleum, wood or stone.
Consider detoxifying your body with a Sklar Center Detoxification Program.