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Phthalates

Phthalates act as endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with the chemicals that shape our development, which can change our bodies in significant ways. Studies have shown phthalate exposure linked to declines in male fertility, affecting everything from testicular development to sperm quality. In women, there are links between phthalate exposure and the development of breast cancer and in pregnant women to abnormal genital development of male children. And across genders, phthalates show a correlation with obesity and insulin resistance.

11 current policies in 5 states
3 adopted policies in 3 states
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Pthalates In Our Lives

Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible — you can find them in everything from your shower curtain to your rubber duckie, from the plastic tube connecting you to a hospital I.V. to the plastic wrap around the sandwich you ate for lunch. They’re also used in personal care products, from shampoo to nail polish to moisturizers, and even in the coatings of pills we take.

Phthalates In Our Bodies

Phthalates are spread on our skin, absorbed in our food, and inhaled in our household dust.

Progress to Protect Health

California, Vermont and Washington have banned phthalates from children's products, and the FDA has recommended keeping them out of pharmaceuticals due to potential health risks.

The European Union banned six phthalates from toys and other children’s products in 1999. In 2006 San Francisco took similar action followed by three US states (California, Vermont and Washington) and then finally Congress followed suit in 2008, banning three permanently and three temporarily. Canada took similar action in 2011. As a result of these policies exposure to certain phthalates has declined while exposure to less regulated phthalates appears to have increased. In 2014, the government's scientific panel recommended making four of the bans permanent, and banning an additional four phthalates.

Learn More About Phthalates in Everyday Products

Breast Cancer Fund

Bill Tracker for Phthalates

Current Policy

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