How Phthalate Exposure Happens
According to the non-profit Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, “Food is the leading source of exposure. Phthalates have been found in dairy products, meats, fish, oils & fats, baked goods, infant formula, processed foods, and fast foods. Phthalates are not intentionally added ingredients but rather ‘indirect’ food additives. They easily escape from food processing equipment, food packaging, and food preparation materials, and contaminate food at points all along the supply chain. This includes food-processing equipment,” such as PVC tubing used in milking and to transfer milk between farms and processing plants.”
These chemicals are found at many levels of the supply chain from the PVC gloves used in food preparation to the printing inks and adhesives on the packaging. Consuming beverages as well as tap water can also cause exposure to phthalates. Indeed, it is often the household wastewater that can contaminate the surface water with phthalates. As mentioned above, a myriad of household cleaners and furnishing can emit particles and vapors containing phthalates which can contaminate the body when they are inhaled. Additionally, personal care products like soap, shampoo, and lotion can cause phthalate exposure through skin absorption. Exposure to phthalates can also be caused by medical equipment.