Phthalates — if you don’t know what they are, it’s time to familiarize yourself with them. There’s a high change that at least one of the products (but probably multiple products) you use on a regular basis contains phthalates, such as household cleaners, and cosmetics. These chemicals are hormone disrupters and can have adverse health effects on both men and women, including delayed puberty and early menopause for women and decreased sperm motility and production for men. Phthalates can also affect children, as studies have shown that the exposure to phthalates in pregnancy is linked to childhood asthma.
Even worse, manufacturers don’t have to list phthalates on their labels since it is a proprietary fragrance product, which means that you won’t know if the makeup or cleaner you’re using has phthalates unless you ask the manufacturer. So, how can you reduce your exposure to phthalates?
Here are some easy changes to make to your everyday life:
- Avoid Packaged Food
Whenever possible, opt for food that is unpackaged, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh spices. You also may want to think about eliminating highly processed food from your regular grocery rotation, such as prepackaged macaroni and cheese, canned goods, and frozen meals. Consider shopping at farmer’s markets and fruit stands for as much of your grocery list as possible. Added benefits to doing so is that you’ll be giving back to your local community and buying locally grown produce also helps strengthen the local economy.
- Store Food in Glass Containers
While plastic containers and bags are all the rage nowadays, they also contain phthalates and should be eliminated from your home, if possible. An easy change you can make is to switch out your plastic containers for glass ones, so you’ll still have a great way to store your food while reducing your exposure to phthalates.
- Buy an Air Purifier
An air purifier is a better option than using fragrance sprays to keep your home smelling fresh and clean. Air purifiers keep the air in your home clean by removing harmful allergens and bacteria. By doing so, they also help your HVAC system by ensuring it operates at its most efficient level. So, with an air purifier, you’ll be reducing your exposure to phthalates while potentially reducing your monthly utility costs.
- Choose Fragrance-Free Personal Care Products
If your personal care products contain the ingredient “fragrance” on the label, there’s a good chance they contain phthalates. Instead, choose fragrance-free products. That way, you’ll know they won’t have this chemical, and you can feel good using them on both yourself and your children.
Eliminating all exposure to phthalates may be impossible, but you can limit your exposure by changing the types of products you use. In doing so, you can feel better about the products you’re using and exposing your children to. And, if you’re really serious about phthalates and the associated health risks to consumers, consider contacting your local representative to ask them to put regulations in place about phthalate pollution.