Welcome to Focus Friday!
Our current series focuses on harmful ingredients found in our everyday products.
Today we do a deep dive into Phthalates.
What are phthalates?
Where are they commonly found?
What are they also known as?
Why are they unsafe for us?
Happy Friday. Eco mamas. Today, I want to talk to you about Phthalates. It's spelled P H T H a L a T E S. It doesn't sound like it's spelled. It's spelled with a silent pH on the front, but phthalates, is says how you pronounce it properly. Valleys are known as the everywhere. Chemical. Because everywhere you look there. Phthalates is a family of chemicals that are used to make plastic more pliable. It softens the plastic itself. So that it can be molded into the different shapes that people want to use it for. Now, phthalates aren't just used in plastics, they're used in other products because of the components that they offer. So they can be used in plastics, food containers, storage containers. They're also used in food, and personal care products. Now you may be wondering, well, why would they put plastic in personal care products? Well, the same compounds that allow the plastic to be flexible from the phthalates, also allows products to adhere to your skin better. Think of a perfume lingering longer on your skin. Or a lotion that the manufacturer wants to stay on your skin longer or the smell of it to stay longer. They use phthalates in order to accomplish that. Phthalates are found in, as I mentioned, a lot of our personal care products. In particularly perfume, nail polish, cosmetics, hairspray, shampoo and skin conditioners. Lotions and other personal care products, anything that the industry wants to adhere to your skin. They're in wood finishes, detergents, most adhesives, most plastic plumbing pipes, lubricant, solvents, insecticides, many building materials, vinyl flooring, shower curtains. Shower curtains can be an episode in itself. Foods that commonly have phthalates. I would just think of anything processed really, to be honest with you. Because that's where a lot of the phthalates can be hidden. In the processed foods and their ingredients, but in particular, High-fat dairies, fatty meats and poultry. Cooking oils. Restaurant, cafeteria, and almost all fast food restaurants. Now phthalates can be ingested into your body by eating and drinking things that are either served or packaged in plastics that contain phthalates. You can also eat or drink food like dairy products and meat products from animals that have been exposed to phthalates. Even something as simple as having contact with dust in a room where carpet, upholstery, wall coverings or wood furnishings have phthalates get it into your system. It's pretty freaky stuff to know that something, harmful like that can just absorb right into your skin, into your body, into your bloodstream. Phthalates, is something to avoid it all costs. That's why we don't like to use plastics in our house. I try to do glass as much as possible. We save every single. Jar from food products that we use, that we reuse Mason jars. Now don't get me wrong. Plastics do get into my house. So sometimes the plastics will come in because it was a gift or maybe somebody brought us some leftovers. Because I'm aware of it, I try to minimize it where I can. There's other ways to get exposed to phthalates. If you work in industries with painting, printing, or plastic processing, it can get absorbed into your body. You might be more likely to get exposed as well if you suffer from a medical condition such as kidney disease or hemophilia. Kidney dialysis and blood transfusions often use tubing and other supplies that are made with phthalates. So there's still a lot of research to be done around phthalates. Most of it, unfortunately has been done through animals. I'm not big into testing on animals. The chemical community has done that. Chemical industry to see how it might affect us. Because they don't want to test on humans, but inevitably they are testing on humans. When there's not enough research to prove that it's safe. It's still allowed to go out on the market. We see how. How we get phthalates in our system. We know what they are. They are a family of particles used to strengthen plastic and make it more pliable. So who is most affected by these and how? Well, unborn babies and children are among the most affected, and they can do more harm to males than females. Kids in puberty are also at a high risk because their bodies are changing. During that transition of hormonal development. They're just more vulnerable. And then adult women tend to have more side effects than men. The theory there is that women tend to use more personal care products. And I totally believe that. Totally believe that. So many chemicals now are referred to with initials. So when you are Looking on the back of your products and you're looking at the list of ingredients. That's what I'm sharing with you, things that you need to be looking for. It's also known as AKA. So phthalates also known as DEHP, DID P, DINP. Those three that I mentioned are on an interim ban from toys. Being allowed to put in toys that might go into a child's mouth. Phthalates have been linked to birth defects. And they're known in the industry as an endocrine disruptor. If you're not familiar with endocrine disruptors. I mentioned them briefly last Friday, when we talked about fragrance. An endocrine disruptor basically mimics hormones in our bodies. And makes us think things are happening when they're really not. It could create a natural overproduction of certain hormones or under production of certain hormones. In addition, endocrine disruption has been traced to premature development, delayed development, as well as low sperm count. The inability for. Newborn males, testicles to naturally drop on their own. And the heartbreaking journey of infertility that so many women struggle with today. Just another reason to avoid phthalates. There's some really interesting studies done by Dr. Shauna Swan. She has a book out called Countdown. And it addresses how our bodies are being affected by many, many chemicals in particularly phthalates, how they are affecting the sperm count in men, reproduction abilities in women. Even the sex drives in women, they found that women that were exposed to more BPA and other phthalates had a lower sex drive or sex satisfaction, than those that did not have the exposure to them. It's, it's just really interesting to me. Of how much coverage there is, but it's still not commonly talked about. Look for phthalate- free. That is the best way you can protect yourself. Look for phthalate-free- products. Use only microwave safe and phthalate-free containers. They have wonderful products on the market now that you can completely avoid plastic wrap. There's no more saran wrap in my house, there hasn't been for so long. Instead, I use wax wraps. It's an organic cloth coated in a bees wax that is perfectly food grade safe. The warmth from my hands mold it into place. It will keep my food fresher longer in the refrigerator than it ever did with me wrapping it with saran wrap. The only caveat to those wax wraps is that you need to be sure NOT to wash it with hot water. Heat can damage and melt away the wax. It will pill and it will lose its its ability to wrap around the food as well and keep it safe. If you do need to wash it, you just wash it with room temperature water with a mild soap.
One more thing is to think about the packaging that your products are coming into. We talked about plastic free is best. However, Not all of our products come in glass containers our personal care products or cleaning products. The plastic containers that they come in could still be made with phthalates. I don't know yet, how to determine if that plastic contains it or not, without going straight to the manufacturer and just flat out asking. But friends, I know that that is a lot of work. Even for someone like me who loves to do the research, that is a lot of work. There are brands though, that are making. Plastic containers out of recycled plastic. So they're, re-purposing something that is already out there. And they've found formulas to make it durable without using phthalates. One of the brands that I know of, and this is how I learned how possible it is, is Owl in a Towel. They used recycled plastics for all of their containers and he made them without valet. So not only are their products now late free. But so are their containers. So you don't need to worry about being exposed to any valleys on anything that they make. So that's just an example of a brand that is mindful about everything that they put into their ingredients. From the core of the product that hits your skin to the containers that it is carried in.Jaime:
The best way to protect yourself from phthalates is to focus on phthalate- free. Read your labels. Look for things that are phthalate-free. Try to avoid plastic when possible. Watch what you eat. Know the source of your foods. Where's your milk coming from? Where's your meat coming from? If you don't know the farmers or the farms know the brands. Know that you can trust the brands. Avoid fast food. If You want to learn more about how fast food can affect the body. in a couple of weeks I have a special guest, Lucy Hutchings. She's going to be talking about the effects of fast food on nutrition, how it could have negative effects on our body and how it wears us down over time. And that's just another reason it gets us sluggish. If you have to go to the hospital or have dialysis, Blood transfusions, et cetera, Ask for phthalate-free medical devices. They are made. They are not commonly used because they can cost a little bit more money. I wish there was a way to just do away with all these chemicals. They're so inundated and everything we do in life today. I try to be mindful in what I do buy, what I do spend my money on, who I buy from. There are so many companies now that are aware of this. Small businesses making products without phthalates without fragrances. Without other harmful chemicals that we cover in this podcast. Thanks again for tuning in today. I hope you enjoyed my little chat about phthalates. I hope I didn't scare you too much sometimes. Too much knowledge can really paralyze us. And that is not my aim at all. It is there, like we can't just ignore it. We can't ignore that these chemicals exist in our everyday lives. We need to be more mindful of them. And we need to protect our children. As much as we can moving forward. And we do that by beginning to minimize the toxins in our home, which is where we spend most of our time. Make sure you follow me. Next release on Tuesday. Where I talk about pesticides. How they should and should not be used around the home. And in the yard. Thank you so much. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Love to all.