What Are Phthalates?
Since the 1950’s, Phthalates have been widely used to soften plastics, making them flexible and hard to break. Commonly known as plasticizers, Phthalates are not chemically bound to the plastics they're added to, which is why they continuously release into air, foods and liquids. When Phthalates leach out of plastic, the plastic becomes hard and brittle.
Phthalates are found everywhere, they are nearly impossible to avoid some examples of where they are found:
What are the effects of phthalates?
According to the CDC, health effects from exposure to low levels of phthalates are unknown. Some types of phthalates have shown to affect the reproductive system of lab animals. More research is needed to assess the human health effects of exposure to phthalates.
There are other studies that link Phthalates to affecting hormone (testosterone) levels and growth and issues with development in children. In adults, there are also signs of increased allergies, runny noses, and eczema. In addition, there are also concerns with low sperm count.
How are we exposed to phthalates?
There are three common ways to be exposed to Phthalates.
- Ingestion - People are exposed to phthalates by eating and drinking foods that have been in contact with containers and products containing phthalates. Babies are at a higher risk because they constantly suck on and put things in their mouth.
- Absorption - Chemical from many scented products are absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream.
- Inhalation - Phthalates can be breathed in from dust or fumes from any product that contains Phthalates.
Steps to avoid phthalates
To minimize exposure via ingestion:
- Use glass and stainless steel instead of plastic food storage containers
- Don't microwave food in plastic
- Don't put plastic containers in the dishwasher
- Use less canned and processed foods.
- When you buy food such as cheese or meat wrapped in plastic, slice or scrape off a thin layer before serving.
- Buy fresh fruits and vegetables when possible.
- Don’t put hot liquids in plastic containers.
- Get rid of older plastic containers
- Avoid buying vinyl products.
- Look for products labeled BPA and phthalate free.
To minimize exposure via absorption:
- Look for beauty and skin care products that are phthalate or fragrance free.
- Limit the amount of baby care products you use on your baby.
To minimize inhaling phthalates:
- When painting or using other solvents, be sure the space is well ventilated — and that your child is elsewhere.
- Choose non-vinyl shower curtains, raincoats, lawn furniture, and building materials whenever possible.
- Dust and wet mop often. Phthalates can wind up airborne and in the dust in your home.
- Avoid air fresheners
Protecting your teeth is the only option until you get to the root of what is causing this bruxism. There are many choices available over the counter, but one thing you want to be certain of is that the material your night guard is made of is free of harmful chemicals. BPA bisphenol-A [...]