by: Celeste M. Smucker, MPH, PhD
(NaturalNews) Phthalates, chemicals used to soften plastics, are found in many personal care products such as hair sprays, perfumes, nail polish, sunscreens and lotions. They are also used in medical devices, on timed release pills (where they are often part of the coating), in children's toys and plastic food containers as well as in such products as floor and wall coverings. The new car smell, which makes owners proud, is due in part to phthalates which can escape from the plastic dashboard after sun exposure and leave a nasty coating on the inside of the windshield. A 2000 study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found widespread phthalate exposure throughout U.S. society, with the highest levels in women of childbearing age; a troubling finding since these chemicals are known endocrine disruptors. Subsequent studies have linked phthalate exposure and a variety of health conditions making their widespread use a serious public health concern.