According to a study released earlier this year, Americans are experiencing less exposure to phthalates, harmful industrial chemicals, thanks partly to a demand by the consumer.
Phthalates are chemicals that soften plastics and are often used in shampoos, fragrances, cosmetics, toys, and packaging plastics. In animal testing they’ve been proven to cause damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system.
According to the National Institutes of Health, a link has been established between the chemicals and delayed pregnancy. In the study, pregnancy took the longest to achieve in couples where the male showed high concentrations of phthalates. In previous studies, it’s been proven that men suffer birth defects in the reproductive system as a result of high phthalate concentration. Most people are exposed to the chemical from using the products listed above, as well as from some food containers.
However, women of child-bearing age have been identified as the group with the highest exposure. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found these women to have phthalate concentrations up to 20% higher than the rest of the population. Luckily, innocent victims are finally having their voices heard.
Although the federal government has only managed to ban phthalates in children’s toys, many big name department stores are beginning to voluntarily remove toxins from their shelves. For example, Wal-Mart is now requiring manufacturers to meet a new, safer chemical formula policy. Target has also taken on an initiative to protect consumers from harmful chemicals.
To voice your opinion or to read more about dangerous products you may use daily, visit the Safe Cosmetics site and join the Not Too Pretty campaign.