These phthalates can be absorbed into the body by touching or other direct contact with phthalate-containing products. Ortho-phthalates (pronounced "thal-ates") are a group of industrial chemicals used as plasticizers that add flexibility and resilience to many plastic consumer products Ortho-phthalates are referred to generally as phthalates. Phthalates (the “ph” is silent) are a class of chemicals that are put into all sorts of different products, often to make plastic soft and flexible, says Barrett. Phthalates are ubiquitous and cumulative exposure is already too high, according to government risk assessments conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the European Food Safety Authority. A third phthalate, Di-2-ethylhexylphthalate (DEHP) is found in eyelash glue, and is widely used in other consumer products. Why are phthalates dangerous? Phthalates are used in a wide range of cosmetic and food products — plus, they’re released into the environment. Phthalates are a family of chemical compounds primarily used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or vinyl, flexible and pliant. Children’s toys and child care articles containing certain phthalates are prohibited. as nail polish, perfumes, deodorants, hair gels, shampoos, soaps, hair sprays, and body lotions, to help lubricate other substances in the formula and to carry fragrances. Phthalates can be breathed in from dust or fumes from any products that contain vinyl, such as vinyl flooring, vinyl seating (in cars, for example), and some diaper-changing mats. Phthalates work as softeners in personal care products such as cosmetics and shampoo, as well as flexible plastics like children’s toys. One example of a product that may contain phthalates is a children's rubber duck. Usually, manufacturers use phthalates to make these materials softer to the touch, less fragile, and more flexible. Though the CDC and FDA have previously reported little about the effects of phthalates on humans, recent research from 2017 cited harmful effects due to overexposure, including hormone imbalances, infertility, and other reproductive issues. However, these chemicals are not part of the plastics, which makes them dangerous. The production of fumes by these products is called off-gassing. Phthalates are a concern for adults, too, of course. Phthalates are used in hundreds of products in our homes, hospitals, cars and businesses. A significant loophole in federal law allows phthalates (and other chemicals) to be added to fragrances without disclosure to consumers. The flexible plastic feel of the rubber duck may be the result of using phthalates in the manufacturing process. Phthalates must be listed among the ingredients on The phthalates widely selected to soften plastics are used because of their strong performance, durability and stability. 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