Plastics and allergies - Our Daily Green

Friday, June 27, 2014

Plastics and allergies

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There is growing concern among the medical community about the link between allergies and asthma and exposure to phthalates. Phthalates are also commonly known of "plasticizers". They are a group of chemicals additives that make plastics more flexible and more difficult to break.

photo courtesy of: wikimedia commons
Phthalates are used in hundreds of products, from vinyl flooring, to personal care products such as soaps, shampoos, and nail polish, they are also used in PVC pipes, garden hoses, inflatable toys, and medical tubing. Use of phthalates is prohibited in the manufacturing of children's toys such as teethers or pacifiers from the USA since 1999, but foreign countries may still use phthalates.

In April 2014, Michelle L. North, PhD published a report linking phthalates to allergies and asthma, advising limiting exposure to any phthalates.
"... considering the current evidence, reducing exposures to phthalates by avoiding processed and foods packaged and stored in plastics, personal care products with phthalates, polyvinyl chloride materials indoors, and reducing home dust is advised."
It is important to note that phthalates are not used in PET plastic, which is commonly used for beverages, microwavable trays or plastic wrap. However, the presence of phthalates in so many other plastics makes a good argument for avoidance of plastic whenever possible. Because exposure can occur from eating, drinking, breathing or using a product that has phthalates, it is important to understand the potential dangers associated with this chemical.

Some considerations to take into account, personal care items in plastic bottles will absorb the phthalate. Check the number on the bottle, only 1s and 2s are PET plastic which does not use phthalates. If you must use a plastic bottle, that is a better choice. 1s and 2s are also more easily recycled.


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