Phthalates are plasticizers, chemicals which are added to PVC and other plastics to make them soft, flexible and durable.
In our business, some relevant products include vinyl flooring and base, carpet backing, vinyl upholstery and wall covering, wire and cable jacketing, and sheet roofing.
Beyond buildings, phthalates are widely used in consumer products such as toys, personal care products, fragrances and plastic dishes. The European Union has banned six highly suspect phthalates from toys and food packaging, and the U.S. has started to regulate certain phthalates in children’s toys and personal care products. Use of phthalates in building materials is essentially non-restricted, and very little information on alternatives is available.
What Can I Do On My Project?
• Request Health Product Declarations (HPD) from product vendors and manufacturers.
An HPD identifies health hazards associated with product ingredients.
• Support our clients’ PVC reduction efforts.
As hospitals embark on eliminating PVC from medical devices and supplies, propose ways that your project can complement their efforts.
Due to widespread use and release, and the global transport of plastics, phthalates are found in air, water, soil and organisms nearly everywhere in the world.
• Industrial workers may be exposed to phthalates by inhalation and, more prevalently, absorbed though dermal contact.
• The highest exposures are from contact with consumer products.
• Exposure can be prenatal, via mother’s ingestion of phthalates. Young children (always putting plastic things in their mouths) are most vulnerable.
• Any anatomic system influenced by hormones can be detrimentally affected by endocrine disruptors, such as phthalates. Most sensitive is the immature male reproductive system.
• May increase risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.