Phthalates are chemicals used as plasticizers and solvents in a range of applications including plastics to personal care products. They are very often used in fragrance blends, and are therefore rarely disclosed as an ingredient. Although their health effects have not been very well studied and reported, there is considerable concern over the possible endocrine-disrupting effects of phthalatesiv, which is linked to other health issues such as breast cancerv. Phthalates can also cross the placenta and can have dramatic effects on a developing foetusvi. Exposure to phthalates can be through food, water, air, infant formula, medication and nutritional supplements, toys, plastic containers and cosmetics. In the EU, phthalates have been banned from use in children's toysx.
iv) U.S. EPA, Toxicity and Exposure Assessment for Children's Health
v) Breast Cancer & the Environment Research Centers - Early Life Exposure to Phthalates and Breast Cancer Risk in Later Years - Fact sheet on pthalates
vi) Human Health, reproductive effects - EPA (phthalates)
x) EU bans baby toys containing phthalates