Phthalates and their impact on health
Article by http://www.homescents.co.uk suppliers of 100% natural products for the home
This one is hard to pronounce. The nearest I can get is thalat. Going on the recommendation that if you can’t pronounce it don’t buy it, it should never be on our pantry shelves; oh yes, we have a pantry! Small but beautifully made.
PHTHALATES --- let’s call him PH, it’s giving me the wick keeping on spelling that name --- are a group of chemical compounds. There are a lot of them and they have many uses. One BILLION lbs are produced yearly throughout the world. Information is hard to confirm, but Exxon, the giant American Petrol company, is among the biggest producers. While researching this I looked at both sides to the debate. Some of those against PH do get a bit carried away and have to be looked at with a pinch of salt. More worrying than that is what you read when going on to the reports that try to knock those with concerns. Most of these are fed to the media and public by bodies set up by the industry itself. To give credit where it’s due, the EU has banned some PHs, especially those used in children’s toys and things they might put in their mouths. The concerns about the cosmetic usage have been brought up but little seems to have been done. However, information is hard to come by, no matter what I put in to dear old Google, so there may well be something coming up.
In the USA many women’s organizations are demanding parity with European women. Their government does not require all the ingredients to be on the label and companies do not have to do pre- market safety testing ----- that’s fine then ! In fact, when the EU ban on some PH's was being proposed the George Bush Bandits, heavily supported by the massive German chemical lobby, worked hard to get the ban from becoming legislation. Greenpeace and other Green sites have plenty of info if you want to know more. I think the British government closed it's eyes again, stuck their fingers in their ears and whistled Rule Britannia till it all went away.
It’s unlikely that you will see the name Phthalates on products now--- if the product is American, it won’t have much to say, of course --- but, there may well be initials that give a clue. The PHs banned in 2005 by the EU are DEHP, DBP & BBP. The P stands for Phthalates.
PHs are dialkyl or alkylaryl esters of 1,2 benzenecarboxylic acid---Judith has cooked dinner and downed a couple of pints while I type in those monsters . Anyway, they are clear liquids that resemble vegetable oil and have been used for over fifty years, mainly in the production of PVC. PHs make plastics soft and flexible. They are found in adhesives, lubricants, plastic toys, packaging and BEAUTY products, including nail polish, hair sprays, perfumes and deodorants. They help to make the fragrance linger once applied.
Questions are now being asked as to their affect on human health. Manufacturers state 50 years of use with no obvious harm to us or the planet proves they are safe. Critics point to the suspicions that developing fetus appear sensitive to the effects of PHs. Also, certain PHs cause severe harm to animals with regard to liver damage, reproductive problems, development degradation and cancers. Some of those organizations linked to the big companies have said that the scenario with animals is not the same as with humans. SO WHY TEST ON ANIMALS IN THE FIRST PLACE? It strikes me these people will twist any statement to suit their own ends. Much of the existing Data on toxicity is based on old standards --- high levels of exposure. More recent studies at low, but sustained levels indicate that PHs can upset the body’s natural functions. They are suspected Endocrine Disruptors. ED is a synthetic chemical that, when absorbed in to the body, can mimic or block hormones to disrupt normal functions. Exposure can occur with absorption through the skin or via inhalation or ingestion through contaminated water and food.
A final word of warning. PHs do NOT have be listed on all products. They may well be there. As they are a large family, sometimes abbreviations are used.
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