Phthalates are a large family of industrial chemicals linked to birth defects in the male reproductive system. Hundreds of animal studies have demonstrated that phthalates can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system, especially the developing testes. Phthalates are used as a plastic softener and solvent in many different consumer products. They can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled as fumes, ingested when they contaminate food or when children bite or suck on plastic toys, and are inadvertently directly administered to patients from PVC (polyvinyl chloride or vinyl) medical devices.
The Environmental Working Group, Coming Clean and Health Care without Harm, contracted with a major national laboratory to test 72 named brands, off-the-shelf beauty products for the presence of phthalates. The lab found phthalates in 52 of the 72 products tested - or 72%, and more than one phthalate in 11 products. Only one of the products listed phthalates on the label. These products included hair products, deodorants and fragrances. In their report Aggregate Exposures to Phthalates in Humans it describes the failure of USA and EU regulators to address the health impacts of multiple exposures to phthalates from a variety of products.
According to one study carried out by the Centre for Disease Control in the USA, five percent of women of reproductive age in the USA, an estimated two million women, may be getting up to 20 times more of the phthalate DBP than the average person in the population. The highest exposures for women of childbearing age were above the federal safety standard, creating a risk of reproductive birth defects, according to animal studies considered relevant to humans.
Natracare products do not contain any phthalates.