Thursday, November 4, 2010

Never too late to learn about phthalates

It’s in the food you eat; the pencil eraser your child may be chewing
on; the wallpaper, furniture, flooring in your house; the hair spray,
nail polish, deodorant, perfume you put on; in your children’s toys
and, if you have one, in your sex toy, too. We’re referring to the
much-talked-about phthalates, which not everybody knows a lot about.
Well, when it comes to phthalates, it’s never too late to learn.

Fact is, a Reuters report recently dished out some facts about
phthalates. According to the report, the global chemicals industry
produces nearly six million tons of phthalates every year. Phthalates
(a family of industrial chemicals used as plastic softeners or
solvents in many consumer products) are suspected to be the culprits
behind “the massive drop in male fertility globally over the past
decades.” In the developing world, for instance, studies repeatedly
show sperm counts have decreased by about 50 percent in the past half
century. Phthalates have been believed to interfere with the sexual
development of boys in the womb.

Phthalates can damage the lungs, kidneys, and liver.

The report points a finger at food as the main source of phthalates
via plastics used in the food processing machinery. A conglomerate of
environmental groups has zeroed in on the dangerous chemicals that are
present in everyday consumer products that we use from erasers to
adhesives, raincoats to shower curtains, hair spray to perfume,
deodorant to nail polish (and many other beauty products), children’s
toys to sex toys.

Sex toys? According to the Reuters report, a Berlin lab tested samples
from the shaft of a smooth blue vibrator and found it had 55 percent
DEHP (diethylhexyl phthalate) by weight while another called Prince
Charming had 63 percent (how’s that for a deadly Prince Charming?).

While there’s no law covering objects such as pencil cases and
erasers, environmentalists believe that consumers should be given full
information on the chemical properties of the products that they buy.

Now, I’ll buy that.


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