Phthalates: our greatest enemy
You may be reading this text at home in comfortable clothes and flip-flops, phone in your hands, or in the car waiting to get to your destiny and even drinking water from a bottle while awaiting for your bus. Do you know what these situations have in common? In all of them, you may be in touch with silent villains called phthalates, chemical compounds harmful to health and present in many plastic products. Surprised by the high probability of bumping around with phthalates? These pests are everywhere and they can cause damage to the liver, kidneys and lungs, and are considered a probable carcinogenic compound. Shoes and bottles aside, we can find them even in toys. Can you believe that? And imagine that these substances are used to give plastics malleability and fix essences in chemicals.
Ok, but what are these phthalates?
Phthalates are groups of chemical compounds derived from phthalic acid. I bet you’ve never been taught that in chemistry classes, but their most common forms are DEHP (di-2-ethylhexylphthalate), DIDP (diisodecylphthalate) and DINP (diisononylphthalate). Save these acronyms, they will help you identify products harmful to your health.
If the names are already complicated, the effects they can cause are very, very complicated. Several studies report that phthalates may be responsible for reduced intellectual capacity, attention deficit, alteration in the hormonal system and also damage the reproductive system.
Phthalates: problems all over the world
In the United States, it is estimated that in 1994, 87% of the phthalates produced were used in a very common type of plastic known as PVC or vinyl. To make matters worse, in the 90s, PVC was used on floors, wallpapers, catheters, blood and serum bags, baby bottles, toys, packaging, cosmetics, perfumes and other products that continue to exhale the poison out there.
Despite the risks, many people still find it difficult to recognize the dangers of phthalates. Science is doing its part, the authorities not so much. Research by Harvard, the World Health Organization and many others point out that these substances can cause significant harm when people are exposed continuously and not an acute and immediate effect.
In Brazil, there is no legislation that controls the disposal of phthalates, only a restriction in relation to the use in the manufacture of toys. In the United States, there is also no regulation and the European Union banned the use of components in toy manufacturing. It is still very little.
Simple ways to avoid contact with phthalates
First, you need to know that phthalates come into contact through the skin, the airways, or when we eat contaminated food. Then, read the list below to find simple ways to protect yourself.
1 – Do not microwave food in plastic containers. Always prefer glass.
2 – Use glass feeding bottles to feed children.
3 – Do not buy toys that contain the following chemical compounds: EHP, DBP and BBP.
4 – Do not use medicine that list phthalates among inactive principles. The capsule may be composed of the substances.
5 – Avoid PVC on the floor of the house. Give preference to hardwood floors.
6 – And of course, change your rubber flip-flops for a Green Flip Flops, phthalate-free and produced with biodegradable vegetables, made from soy and sugar cane.
Do you have any further tips on how to fight phthalates? Leave them in the comments.