You’ve probably heard the word said in certain circles, but do you really know what phthalates are? Phthalates, pronounced THAL-ates, are a group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl—they’re also used in many conventional cosmetics and skin care products, such as shampoo, soap, hair spray, and moisturizers. Phthalates are known to disrupt the body’s hormones.
Children can be particularly at risk when exposed to phthalates, particularly little ones who like to put everything in their mouths. Keep kids safe by keeping soft vinyl out of your house. And avoid products that simply list “fragrance,” since this catch-all term sometimes means hidden phthalates.