HOW DANGEROUS ARE PHTHALATES?

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HOW DANGEROUS ARE PHTHALATES?

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Phthalates are oil-like chemicals used to make plastics softer and more flexible. Toys are just one of many products that can contain them. According to a 2000 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences review, detergents, cosmetics (such as nail polish) and wood finishes are sources of human exposure to phthalates. The most common exposure used to be through food that had come into contact with plastic packaging containing the phthalate DEHP; however, an NIEHS report notes that the phthalate has since been removed from consumer products. Furthermore, another report explains that DINP (diisononyl phthalate), which is commonly used in toys, is used sparingly in food packaging. Children may be exposed to higher levels of DINP (up to 10–100 fold higher) than adults because infants and small children mouth toys and other articles that contain DINP that can migrate into saliva and be swallowed. DINP is not used in medical devices; therefore intravenous exposure does not occur.