Phthalates – Associated Health Problems


Phthalates (pronounced tha-lates) are toxic chemicals found in plastics, skin care and other common compounds. They have been found in studies to disrupt hormones, contributeAdorable baby girl in the creche to cancer development, endometriosis, hormonal problems and infertility.

Phthalates are commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products, including perfume, hair spray, soap, shampoo, nail polish, and moisturisers. They’re also used as a plastisizer to soften plastic and vinyl toys, shower curtains, wallpaper, food packaging, and plastic wrap. Other sources include wood finishes, detergents, adhesives, plastic plumbing pipes, lubricants, medical tubing and fluid bags, solvents, insecticides, building materials, and vinyl flooring. Studies have shown humans to have high levels of phthalates – and it is no wonder since we come into contact with them thousands of times throughout our lives.

Phthalates are also in babies toys and teething rings – these ‘phthalate lollipops’ have the ability to disrupt our children’s endocrine systems from a very young age.

Although phthalates have been proven to cause cancer and other disease, there is no regulation of their use in Australia. You will still find this chemical in baby toys, skin care and plastic food storage containers.

At the clinic we offer a urinary environmental pollutants panel (UPP) that tests for phthalates and other chemicals. This test is useful for anyone with hormonal problems, cancer (or family history of cancer) or other chronic health conditions. Our naturopaths specialize in the detoxification of these chemicals so that they do not effect your health.

We also offer natural beauty services through our sister clinic – Brisbane Natural Beauty which are 100% phthalate and chemical free, and have a range of natural and organic skin and personal care items for sale at the clinic to help reduce the phthalate load in your environment.

Here’s our top 5 tips for reducing phthalate levels in your body:

  1. Use only natural based skin care, cleaning products and detergents
  2. Buy a fabric shower curtain, if you need one. The heat of the shower on the plastic curtain causes release of phthalates that you can absorb
  3. Try to buy natural rubber teethers, dummies and toys for children. Buy wooden toys and cotton fabric ones over soft plastic ones.
  4. Use glass or stainless steel food containers – avoiding contact of plastics with foods.
  5. Use a stainless steel or glass water bottle.
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