Naughty Not Nice Phthalates
Phthalates are a family of chemical compounds known by many different names. They are found in hundreds of products including plastic baby toys, personal care products, air fresheners, dryer sheets, scented plug-ins, dish soaps, bathroom cleaners and window cleaners. They are pretty much everywhere including that blue box of Mac & cheese your kids love so much. Before I became a parent I didn’t pay any attention to ingredients in dryer sheets but as you will find out I have changed.
My journey to Green Cleaning
When I became a stay-at-home mom, I joined my local MOMs Club chapter to avoid being painfully isolated from society. Other moms were making their own household cleaners to be frugal and avoid chemicals. I thought they were sniffing glue at the craft table. I barely had time to wash my hair and put on a bra. But, I also knew statistics for indoor air quality were depressing so I decided to do some research.
I found a bunch of articles written by moms who ate kale for breakfast and pretty much believed that Lysol would make my perfect new baby grow a second penis. There were long lists of ingredients and pretty scary health risks for cleaners I was wiping my highchair down with. But the articles didn’t offer any REAL credible information.
Ultimately, I did find enough evidence to make some changes but it wasn’t because crunchy mammas made me do it. I stopped buying cleaning products in the store 11 years ago because;
- I don’t believe our homes needs to be sterile – many cleaners kill good bacteria as well as bad bacteria and we need to come into contact with germs so our immune system can work properly
- When you do need to properly disinfect I believe it can be done with simple disinfectant, not an expensive bottle with a long list of unpronounceable ingredients.
- I got tired of wasting money on big manufactures and helping them cover the cost of packaging, branding, advertising and fillers in their products
- I could make some pretty amazing cleaners easily.
- I found a manufacturer that I trusted buying some things from and they delivered
In a nutshell I think big manufactures use the cheapest possible ingredients, sucker us in with their packaging and advertising and do not care about the health and well-being of my family. So instead of listing all the ingredients crunchy mammas hate let’s simplify things a little to make a point.
Let’s just focus on one offender commonly on the naughty list and why they can be poetically harmful to humans. Remember this is just one small ingredient in the chemical shit storm your body absorbs if you use most cleaning products on the market.
Why Reduce Exposure to phthalates in Cleaning Products
- Because they are linked to abnormal obesity and insulin response in adult males according to the University of Rochester Medical Center
- Suspected link to declining sperm count
- Changes in reproductive organs in boy babies
- They are linked to Thyroid disorders
- They are linked to Birth Defects
- They are linked to Early puberty in girls
- They are a Possible Asthma and allergen irritant – Endocrine Disruptors and Asthma-Associated Chemicals in Consumer Products appears on the National Library of Medicine
- This Scientific American article highlights scientists that suggest the health effects are larger than suspected because there are no studies showing combined effects of chemicals. “In human bodies, phthalates combine, amplifying the effects on male reproduction,” the article states.
I know my kids can’t live in a bubble but I like to focus on things I can control.
“Children born to women who held cleaning jobs while pregnant have an elevated risk of birth defects, according to a 2010 study by the New York State Department of Health.” Emviocrmental Working Group
It is important to know that many agencies and regulatory bodies have maintained that phthalates are safe. I am just another consumer trying to make relatively educated choices. I do think more research needs to be done but I am glad there are alternatives.
What do you think have I gone to the dark side?
Environmental Working Group Decoding Labels is a fantastic tool for cutting through all the jargon
Clean House Clean Planet was written a while ago but it is still very useful information. It is informative and offers several easy alternatives receives for cleaners. It even rates each recipe and gives a cost breakdown.
A Report From Environmental Health Strategy Center
Maternal occupation and the risk of major birth defects takes about possible correlation between occupations of pregnant women and birth defects