How Do Phthalates Affect Humans?

How Do Phthalates Affect Humans? Do you know what Phthalates are? They are chemical compounds typically added to plastics to enhance flexibility, transparency, longevity, and durability.

When we (humans) have contact with phthalates, we risk hormone imbalance (endocrine disruption). We can experience external AND internal exposure to phthalates. So let’s look a bit more at phthalates.

Where Are We Getting Exposure To Phthalates?

This is kinda all-encompassing. Here we go:

  • Plastic products
  • Detergents
  • Plastic clothing/fabric (raincoats, galoshes, shower curtains)
  • Personal-care products – soap, shampoo, cosmetics, and hair spray
  • Medications – particularly pancreatic enzymes
  • Medical supplies – Tubes, IVs, bags
  • Toys
  • Vinyl flooring & wall covering
  • Lubricating oils
  • Food packaging
  • PVC plastic
  • Adhesives
  • Breast Milk – (gasp!) Babies are getting exposed because the mother has phthalates in her system

All of these items are bad enough in themselves. Then consider that most can emit dust particles. It’s easy for us to inhale and even eat these particles. Think also about the babies and young kids who play on the floor, where dust particles have settled.

How Do Doctors Test For Phthalate Exposure?

When doctors test for phthalates, they examine Urine, Stool, and Blood. However, most of these tests are done in a research study setting. So you really can’t ask your doctor to run a test while you are visiting the office.

How Do Phthalates Affect Humans In Terms Of Health Risks?

  • Early onset puberty
  • Changes in the microbiome of the gut
  • Lower immunity, particularly in the lower intestine
  • Pre-term Newborns have shown gut imbalance when they have been given
    IV treatments (phthalates here) at the same time as vaccinations
  • Newborns are susceptible to developmental & reproductive harm
  • Researchers are finding out if kids have lower lung function after
    a combined exposure to PFAs and phthalates

Reduce Exposure – How Do Phthalates Affect Humans?

First – Read labels on food, cosmetics, detergents, soaps, shampoos, fragrances.

Look for these ingredients. If they are listed, RUN!

  • di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  • dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  • benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)
  • diisononyl phthalate (DINP)
  • diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP), 
  • Di-n-pentyl phthalate (DPENP)
  • di-n-hexyl phthalate (DHEXP)
  • dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP)

Second – Reduce food exposure of phthalates. Let’s all admit that we are buying foods that are packaged in plastics. Right? So try to avoid heating the plastic while thawing food. Do not cook food in plastic AT ALL. Hand wash all plastic food containers & drinking glasses.

Replace plastic food containers with glass as much as possible. You might wanna know that the New York Times reported phthalates were used in the boxing of Kraft Mac ”n Cheese.



Fatty foods tend to have a lot of phthalates. This includes fast food and highly processed foods. Preparing more of your own meals will help to limit exposure, too.

If you buy items that contain plastic, look at the recycling codes to determine whether or not they’re safe. Codes 3 and 7 may contain phthalates, diethyl phthalate (DEP) or BPA, but plastic with recycling codes 1, 2 or 5 don’t contain phthalates. 

Dr. Josh Axe

Third – Start making your own cosmetic products. I know this sounds like an extreme solution. Yet we can kick a lot of phthalates to the curb by controlling the ingredients that we apply to our skin. Our skin has an absorption level of 70-100% (the underarms and genital areas absorb 100%).

Before you get hysterical about making your own cosmetics, let me explain. You don’t have to make EVERYTHING. Take on one cosmetic item at a time: face wash, shampoo, conditioner, & perfume (with essential oils), Take your time in easing over to these new alternatives.

Fourth – Consider doing a liver cleanse. If you have high exposure to phthalates (and you probably DO), then your liver is working hard to get rid of them. The liver has the job of cleaning our blood, producing the bile that digests fat, and stores essential vitamins, minerals and iron. If the liver is bogged down by phthalates, it can’t do its job. This trickles down to every part of our body.

All of this involves the Mouth Gut Connection. Read more about that here.

I love to  help you to Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

Pam Schmidt

Chemical Minimalist

Mindfulness Mentor

P.S. Have you seen the Working With Your Gut mini-course?
Bronwen and I have put together 4 modules to help you start looking at ways to help and heal. If you message me, I can give you a discount code.

P.P.S. Get the support you need to get things rearranged and reduce the chemicals in your home, food, cleaning supplies, and healthy supplements. Request a private consultation with me.

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