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Spotlight on Phthalates

By CDC

Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in the manufacture of plastics. They often are called plasticizers. Phthalates can prolong the lifespan or durability of plastics and increase the flexibility of some plastics. In addition, phthalates have been used as solvents for other materials. They are used in hundreds of products, including vinyl flooring; adhesives; detergents; lubricating oils; food packaging; automotive plastics; plastic clothing, such as raincoats; and personal-care products, such as soap, shampoo, hair spray, and nail polish.

 

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Phthalates are used widely in flexible polyvinyl chloride plastics (PVC), such as plastic bags, garden hoses, inflatable recreational toys, blood-storage containers, intravenous tubing, children’s toys, and some pharmaceutical and pesticide products. Before 1999, phthalates were used in pacifiers, soft rattles, and teethers.

 

 

How People Are Exposed to Phthalates

 

 

People can be exposed to phthalates by:

  • Using consumer products that contain phthalates.
  • Breathing household dust contaminated with phthalates.
  • Having a medical treatment, such as a blood transfusion or dialysis, that uses equipment made of plastics.
  • Living near a manufacturing facility that makes products containing phthalates.

How Phthalates Affect People's Health

 

The health effects of phthalates in people are not yet fully known. Although several studies in people have explored possible associations with developmental and reproductive outcomes (semen quality, genital development in boys, shortened pregnancy, and premature breast development in young girls), more research is needed.

 

Levels of Phthalates in the U.S. Population

 

For the Third Report, scientists tested urine samples from people 6 years and older who took part in CDC’s national study known as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Information about specific levels of phthalates in the U.S. population may be found by reviewing the Report at http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport.

For More Information

 

 

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

 

Public Health Statement for Di-n-butyl Phthalate:
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/phs135.html

 

 

Public Health Statement for Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP):

 

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/phs9.html

 

Public Health Statement for Diethyl Phthalate

 

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/phs73.html

 

Public Health Statement for Di-n-octylphthalate (DNOP)

 

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/phs95.html

 

 

ToxFAQs for Di-n-butyl Phthalate

 

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts135.html

 

ToxFAQs for Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP):
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts9.html

 

 

ToxFAQs for Diethyl Phthalate

 

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts73.html

 

ToxFAQs for Di-n-octylphthalate (DNOP):
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts95.html

 

Food and Drug Administration

 

Phthalates and Cosmetics Products

 

http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/dms/cos-phth.html

 

DEHP in Plastic Medical Devices:
http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/consumer/dehp.html

 

 

National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine Phthalates

 

http://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/text_version/chemical/phthalates.html

 

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
The Risk of Chronic Toxicity Associated with Exposure to Diisononyl Phthalate (DINP) in Children's Products:

 

http://www.cpsc.gov/phth/dinp.html

 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Consumer Fact Sheet on Di (2- ethyhexyl) Phthalate:
http://www.epa.gov/safewater/dwh/c-soc/phthalat.html

 

Dibutyl phthalate

http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0038.htm


Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP):
http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0014.htm

 

 

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Spotlight on Phthalates:  Created on April 27th, 2008.  Last Modified on December 6th, 2009

 

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About CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is one of the 13 major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is the principal agency in the United States government for protecting the health and safety of all Americans and for providing essential human services, especially for those people who are least able to help themselves.

Since it was founded in 1946 to help control malaria, CDC has remained at the forefront of public health efforts to prevent and control infectious and chronic diseases, injuries, workplace hazards, disabilities and environmental health threats.

 

 

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