Ethan A. Huff
Oct 19, 2010
Much of the concern surrounding plastic products these days is centered around bisphenol-A (BPA), a plastics chemical that numerous studies have found disrupts proper hormonal function and interferes with proper sexual development, among other things. But phthalates, another type of plastics chemical, are also highly dangerous, and are found in all sorts of consumer products that contain plastic and rubber components.
A recent study conducted by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) found that all sorts of products  — including pencils, toys , shoes, erasers, shower curtains, vinyl flooring, paint, electric cables, snack bags, and clothing — contain phthalates . According to a recent Reuters report, there are roughly 25 different phthalates used in various products, and while their purpose is to make plastics  more flexible, their effects on health are devastating.
Phthalates are literally everywhere, from the plastics in cars to food packaging, and everything in between. And like BPA , phthalates are linked to sexual dysfunction, particularly male infertility. According to scientists and many governments, global sperm counts have decreased by roughly 50 percent over the past 50 years as a result of phthalates. Some phthalates have been shown to directly inhibit the production of testosterone in developing fetal rats.
“[Phthalates] are endocrine disrupting and medical literature suggests they may be linked to some reproductive defects in the male fetus,” says Allison Tannis in her book Probiotic Rescue: How You Can Use Probiotics to Fight Cholesterol, Cancer, Superbugs, Digestive Complaints and More . “Phthalates are gaining attention as a possible cancer-causing chemical that should be avoided.”
The European Union (EU) banned phthalates from children’s toys back in 1999, but there are many products children use that fall outside the regulations. In the U.S., phthalates are widely used, but some manufacturers have voluntarily dropped phthalates from their products.
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