phthalates, definition of


Used in vinyl products to make them softer and more flexible; also in cosmetics, fragrances, food wraps, and other products. In baby boys, exposure to phthalates can likely increase the risk of birth defects and hormone changes. In men, they likely increase the risk of reproductive problems and hormone changes. The U.S. government regulates industrial discharges of phthalates, but they are unregulated in food products, cosmetics, and consumer and medical products.

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