Forget about bat poop in mascara. There's another icky ingredient that could be floating around in your favorite beauty products. Phthalates, also called plasticizers, go into many products dotted around your bathroom and vanity, including hair spray, shampoos, fragrances, deodorants and even your rubber ducky. Along with increasing the durability and flexibility of plastics, phthalates also bind the color and fragrance in cosmetic products.
Why worry about this chemical additive? They may demand a higher price for beauty than you wish to pay. Like BPA mentioned earlier, these hormone-like chemicals are linked to reproductive and developmental problems in animals. Because of these findings, California and Washington state have banned the use of phthalates in toys for younger children [source: Underwood]. Nationwide manufacturers no longer use them in baby pacifiers, rattles or teething rings [source: CDC].
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to complete more research on the effects of phthalates before judging its safety in consumer products. However, the agency recognizes a potential for lowered sperm count in boys and premature breast development in girls, among other things [source: CDC]. As for cosmetic products, the Food and Drug Administration maintains that levels in products are safe for adults but also is studying the potential effects in infants and children [source: FDA].
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More Great Links
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- CBC News. "Office Printers Emit Hazardous Particles." Oct. 22, 2007. (May 30, 2008)http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2007/10/22/printer-study.html
- CBS News. "Toxic Baby Bottles?" Feb. 7, 2008. (May 29, 2008)http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/07/health/main3804860.shtml
- Cone, Marla. "Researchers Link Flame Retardants to Hazards." Los Angeles Times. Aug. 25, 2003.
- Consumer Reports. "Wall-to-wall Carpeting." November 2007. (May 29, 2008)http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/home-dcor/furnishings-dcor/carpet/walltowall-carpeting-buying-advice-604/overview/
- Davis, Tony. "Worst pollution risks increasingly indoors: Not so sweet home: Toxins lurk in air, dust, even cleaning supplies." McClatchy -- Tribune Business News. Nov. 30, 2007.
- Duncan, David Ewing. "The Pollution Within." National Geographic. October 2006. (May 29, 2008)http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0610/feature4/
- He, Congrong; Morawska, Lidia and Taplin, Len. "Particle Emissions Characteristics of Laser Printers." Environmental Science and Technology. 2007. (May 29, 2008)http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sample.cgi/esthag/2007/41/i17/pdf/es063049z.pdf
- Kagi, Naoki; Fujii, Shuji; Horiba, Youhei; Namiki, Norikazu; Ohtani, Yoshio; Emi, Hitoshi; Tamura, Hajime and Kim, Yong Shik. "Indoor air quality from chemical and ultrafine particle contaminants from printers." Building and Environment. May 2007. (May 29, 2008)http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V23-4MFJJ3G-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=c8e924f27fcb55de231ad81ec76010ce
- Lipton, Eric S. and Barboza, David. "As More Toys are Recalled, Trail Ends in China." The New York Times. June 19, 2007. (May 29, 2008)http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/19/business/worldbusiness/19toys.html?pagewanted=1
- National Pesticides Telecommunications Networks. "Pesticides in Indoor Air of Homes." Feb. 22, 2001. (May 29, 2008)http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/air_gen.pdf
- ScienceDaily "Many Cleaners, Air Fresheners May Pose Health Risks When Used Indoors." University of California - Berkeley. May 24, 2008. (May 28, 2008)http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2006/05/060524123900.htm
- The Working Group for Safe Markets. "Baby's Toxic Bottles." (May 29, 2008)http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/BabysToxicBottle.pdf
- Underwood, Anne. "The Chemicals Within." Newsweek. Feb. 4, 2008. (May 29, 2008)http://www.newsweek.com/id/105588
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "National Report on Human Exposure to Chemicals -- Spotlight on Bisphenol-A." May 2008. (May 29, 2008)http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/factsheet_bisphenol.pdf
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "National Report on Human Exposure to Chemicals -- Spotlight on Phthalates." Updated January 2007. (May 29, 2008)http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/factsheet_phthalates.pdf
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "National Report on Human Exposure to Chemicals -- Spotlight on Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers and Polybrominated Biphenyls" February 2008. (May 29, 2008)http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/factsheet_pbde.pdf
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality." Office of Air and Radiation. Updated April 25, 2008. (May 29, 2008)http://epa.gov/iaq/pubs/insidest.html#Intro2
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "Phthalates and Cosmetics." Updated Feb. 7, 2008. (May 29, 2008)http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-phth.html
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "Bisphenol A (BPA)." April 14, 2008. (June 11, 2008)
Companies have rekindled the fire grenade, made it simple and nontoxic, and dubbed it the throwable fire extinguisher. Learn more at HowStuffWorks.