How to Limit Your Exposure to Phthalates
Women of childbearing age - the group most at risk for phthalate-related harm - show the highest concentration of phthalates in their bodies. Researchers have suggested that the occurrence of phthalates in personal care and beauty products may be to blame. Phthalates were found in nearly three-quarters of the products tested (such as commonly used deodorants and perfumes) in the Environmental Working Group's report on phthalates in beauty products, Not Too Pretty.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a collaborative project of several nonprofit public and environmental health organizations, calls for manufacturers of personal care products to replace hazardous ingredients, such as phthalates, with non-toxic alternatives. To see whether your regular brand has signed the campaign, search here.
Limiting your phthalate exposure from everyday products is a difficult task. If possible, avoid using PVC and vinyl products in your home by making changes such as using a non-vinyl shower curtain and wearing non-vinyl rainwear. Do not install vinyl flooring or carpet in your home - opt instead for natural flooring materials sealed with low-VOC sealers. Do not drink from your garden hose.
The fragrances in many products contain phthalates, so whenever possible use products that are unscented or scented only with essential oils. Choose cleaning products with plant-derived surfactants and make use of the natural cleaning powers of vinegar, baking soda, and borax.