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Reducing Your Exposure to Phthalates

Products containing phthalates are ubiquitous in our society, but you can reduce your and your family’s exposure to phthalates by avoiding PVC and purchasing products from companies that have eliminated phthalates. When you can choose, try to use metal, glass, ceramic, wooden, or other natural non-PVC products.

Avoid plastics with recycling code #3. Look at the recycling symbol on products when you purchase plastic products. Plastics marked with the #3 symbol contain PVC.

Use PVC-free food storage. Buy plastic wrap and bags made from polyethylene, such as GLAD. For food storage, use glass containers or plastic containers marked with recycling codes other than the #3. If you do use plastic containers, do not heat or microwave food in them.

Choose phthalate-free toys. Toymakers Early Start, Brio, Chicco, Evenflo, Gerber, Lego, Sassy, have pledged to stop using phthalates. Look for toys made from polypropylene or polyethylene or avoid plastic toys altogether.

Purchase phthalate-free beauty products. Avoid nail polish, perfumes, colognes, and other scented products that are labeled as containing phthalates. Many scented products simply list “fragrance” as an ingredient, which often incorporates a number of different chemicals including phthalates. Avoid these products, or do additional research. For more information on phthalate-free cosmetics and personal care products, visit the National Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group, which maintains a database on cosmetic products and their ingredients.

Choose an Eco-Healthy Childcare. Eco-Healthy Childcares are childcare facilities endorsed by the Oregon Environmental Council, because they have committed to reducing potentially harmful toxics in their facility.  The Eco-Healthy Childcare requirements include limitations on toys containing phthalates. 

Choose PVC-free building materials and piping. To learn more  about the potential harmful impacts of PVC pipe and to find PVC-free alternatives, visit the Clean Water Pipe Council.

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