Rubber ducks, shampoo and bubble tea oh my! What harmful chemical do these 3 have in common?

What do rubber ducks, shampoo and bubble tea all have in common?

PTHALATES!

Pthalates are chemicals which are added to plastic-based products to make the material softer and more flexible.

What types of products contain pthalates?

Rubber ducks and other children’s toys, body care products such as shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and fragrances, electronics, PVC shower curtains, wallpaper, furniture, plastic containers and plastic wrap, household cleaners, and now most recently discovered in the ingredients from bubble tea products.  List of recalled bubble tea products by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency 

How do pthalates get into your body?

Ingestion: Children who chew on toys (like those really cute rubber duckies!), eating food which was wrapped in plastic packaging material or stored in containers which contain pthalates. Recently, the Canadian government decided to reduce the pthalate content from children’s toys: http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2011/01/18/health-phthalates-restrictions-children-toys.html

Absorption: Applying personal hygiene products to the skin allows for daily absorption of pthalates.  Some products specifically add pthalates because pthalates aid in the skin’s absorption of the product.

Have I been smearing chemicals on my body for the last 25 years? Luckily, once you start using these products the pthalates are eliminated from your body in about 24-48 hours.

***One of the key things I recently learned is that companies are NOT required to list pthalate content in their products.  However, products that list the ingredient `fragrance`or `parfum`most likely contain pthalates.

Inhalation: Pthalate fumes from household products, electronics and furniture pass through the air and we inhale them on a daily basis. Air fresheners are a key culprit in the inhalation of pthalates.

Why should you reduce your pthalate exposure?

Preliminary studies are showing pthalates have potentially negative effects on the body by disrupting hormone balance and affecting male and female reproductive organs. There is also a potential relationship between pthalates and cancer, obesity and diabetes.

5 Resources for pthalate content in products:

Pthalates: what you need to know

Chemical Body Burden: Pthalates

Environmental Defence

Environmental Working Group

Slow Death by Rubber Duck

Please share your tips to reduce pthalate exposure and help others reduce their chemical body burden.

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