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Monday, February 04, 2008

Consumer Alert: Pthalates and Babies

Random baby product

Note: This blog does not endorse any product, including the one pictured here, as safe or containing no phthalates.

Reuters is reporting that Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana of the University of Washington in Seattle has, together with colleagues, published the results of a study in the journal Pediatrics showing phthalate levels in infants under the age of 28 months.
According to the study, all infants' urine samples contained at least one phthalate at measurable levels. Additionally, 81 percent of the samples had measurable amounts of seven or more phthalates.

This association was strongest in infants under 8 months old, "who may be more vulnerable to developmental and reproductive toxicity of phthalates," the investigators note in their report.
Phthalates have been linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity in animal studies. They are used to stabilise fragrances and make plastics flexible, and are used in baby powder, baby lotion, nail polish and other cosmetics, medical equipment, soft vinyl teethers, baby bottles, floor coverings, etc. There are few studies on the effects of phthalates in humans, although a recent study showed that pregnant women exposed to phthalates suffered a higher incidence of stillbirths and their children showed physical markers that might indicate future reproductive problems.

The current administration has gutted the organizations responsible for ensuring the safety and health of American consumers, and manufacturers are not required to indicate phthalate levels in their products. As a result, it is difficult for parents to make informed decisions. Additionally, phthalates have been implicated in obesity and diabetes.

If you have children under the age of five, you need to inform yourself of the potential problems that phthalate exposure might cause them. If you use cosmetic products of any kind (lotions, shampoos, powders) that do not come from trusted sources or are not certified to contain no phthalates, you might find this link useful.

You might also want to stop using nail polish at all if you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, or if you have very young infants at home. This site has some information and might be able to help you find products without phthalates. This does not constitute an endorsement of the site or of any products that they recommend. There are other toxins in the world than just phthalates. tells you why phthalates are dangerous and includes some useful information.

Auntie Beeb reports that the European Union has banned phthalates in varying degrees, thereby offering some protection to European consumers.

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At 9:01 AM, Blogger sgtg said...

Just a little note about triclosan - another toxic "ingredient" that's in everything. This is what's in all that anti-bacterial CRAP but it's also in lots of other stuff too.


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