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Phthalates are primarily used as “plasticizers” in the manufacturing of plastics and other products to improve flexibility, elasticity, and resiliency.
Phthalates may be found in:
- Enteric coatings of oral medications
- Household items, including children’s toys, paints, food packaging, and cleaning materials
- Personal care products, such as cosmetics, lotions, and sunscreen
One of the most common plasticizers, Di-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), is used extensively in medical devices.
Concerns Around Phthalates
Although phthalates are rapidly metabolized and excreted in the body, they are also susceptible to leaching and can be released into the air, dust, and food. This has raised concerns over phthalate exposure, as these chemicals are now classified as endocrine-disrupting compounds. Phthalates have also been found to play a potential role in a number of reproductive, thyroid, immune, and metabolic conditions.