Crunchi’s blacklist ingredient to highlight today: The widely-used group of chemicals called phthalates (“THA-lates”) that are used as a moisturizing agent in many cosmetics and body care products.

Studies have shown that they interfere with hormones in the body, posing risks to the reproductive and thyroid systems. Preliminary studies also link phthalates to diabetes risk and asthma. Phthalates are considered hazardous waste and are regulated as pollutants in air and water...however, they remain unregulated in food, cosmetics, and medical products in the U.S. In contrast, the European Union restricts use of phthalates! The most common use of phthalates is as an ingredient in “fragrance” mixtures since companies are not required to reveal the ingredients making up fragrance mixtures on the labels of products.

Because phthalates are found in so many everyday products, some exposure may be unavoidable. The best way to reduce exposure is to switch to phthalate-free cosmetics (Crunchi’s gotcha covered there!) and body care products. Choose products that do not list “fragrance” as an ingredient, and nail polish that does not contain dibutyl phthalate. You can also choose fragrance-free detergents and cleaning products, eat less food packaged in plastic, and not reheat food in plastic containers.