In this blog post, I will be discussing the details of phthalates and BPA. There will be a lot of science-y talk, for which I apologize. The goal of this post is to educate you and to allow to you make an informed decision about the products that are in your home. These are scary things. Starting Verbena Boutique has opened my eyes to the world of toxic chemicals and I hope, through products and education, I can make your home safer.
Phthalates and BPA are also known as the ‘everywhere chemicals’ because of how unavoidable they are. These chemicals are also known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs). EDCs “are substances in the environment (air, soil, or water supply), food sources, personal care products, and manufactured products that interfere with the normal function of your body’s endocrine system.” (1)
What are Phthalates?
Phthalates are esters of phthalic acid. “Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break.” (2) “Phthalates are a family of man-made chemical compounds developed in the last century to be used in the manufacture of plastics, solvents, and personal care products. They are colorless, odorless, oily liquids that do not evaporate easily and do not chemically bind to the material they are added to.” (4) “They are mainly used as plasticizers, i.e., substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity.” (5)
What is BPA?
BPA is short for Bisphenol A. It is a “white solid that has been used since the 1960s to make plastics that are lightweight, clear, and hard.” (6) “BPA is a starting material for the synthesis of plastics, primarily certain polycarbonates and epoxy resins, as well as some polysulfones and certain niche materials.” (7)
Where EDCs are Found
Phthalates can be found in:
- Personal care products (shampoo, soaps, etc)
- Certain types of fragrance
- Food Packaging
- Medical Devices
- Children’s toys
- “High levels of phthalates can be found in fatty meats and cream-based dairy (presumably because the milk products are exposed while traveling through plastic tubing in the process of production and delivery)” (8)
BPA can be found in:
- Plastic bottles
- Food and beverage containers
- Epoxy resins used to coat the inside of metals such as bottle tops, water supply pipes, and cans.
EDCs are found through items that you ingest, inhale, and touch. While many countries, and companies, have taken great strides to remove these harmful chemicals from their products, there are still those that use them. Make sure to buy products that clearly state “BPA Free” or “Phthalate Free”. If you are unsure of whether or not a product contains these chemicals, contact the company. If you are unable to guarantee that the product you wish to purchase is 100% phthalate or BPA free, use a different product. Don’t give your money to people who don’t care about poisoning their customers.
Unfortunately, in things like ‘fragrance’, most companies will not specify the exact ingredients used. Legally, the mixture, no matter how toxic, may be ‘proprietary’. I will always try to be 100% transparent with the ingredients that I use and the chemicals included. If you have any concerns, feel free to reach out.
How do EDCs Effect You?
In this section, you’re going to see a lot of repetition of the word ‘hormone’. The reason why EDCs are such a hot point with me, is because I have PCOS. PCOS, in and of itself, is a hormone disorder. Finding out about EDCs when starting this journey seriously made me stop and think about what I’ve been putting in my body. Have I basically been poisoning myself? Quite possibly.
“Some EDCs act like “hormone mimics” and trick our body into thinking that they are hormones, while other EDCs block natural hormones from doing their job. Other EDCs can increase or decrease the levels of hormones in our blood by affecting how they are made, broken down, or stored in our body.” (1)
“In children, scientists have observed that phthalate exposures may place the developing fetus at increased risk for:
- Changes in male reproductive organs, like hypospadias (positional change of the opening on the penis)
- Changes in reproductive hormones
- Increased allergies, runny nose, and eczema
In adults, phthalates may be associated with changes in sperm quality.” (9)
“Phthalate exposure during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester, can cause higher estrogen concentrations and lower testosterone in fetuses. This increases the possibilities of genital abnormality in male babies at birth.” (8)
“In humans, BPA exposure when the fetus is developing may increase the risk for:
- Behavior issues (like hyperactivity and aggression)
- Later breast development during puberty
- Obesity and Diabetes
- Heart disease
- Changes in liver function” (9)
“Prenatal exposure to BPA has been associated with obesity, reproductive abnormalities and neurodevelopmental abnormalities in some studies.” (8)
How to Avoid EDCs
- Avoid ‘hand me down’ toys for children and only use infants products labeled ‘BPA free’.
- Try to avoid plastics. Plastic containers marked with a 3, 6, or 7 have BPA, and heating plastics allow BPA to leach into your food.
- Use glass, stainless steel, ceramic, or wood, whenever possible
- Avoid fragrances that are not specifically ‘phthalate free’. Fragrances containing phthlates can be pumped into certain stores to create that ‘signature scent’ that everyone knows, and associates, with said stores.
- Avoid canned food – eat fresh or frozen as much as possible. Cans used in food production may be lined with BPA plastics, even if the food inside is labeled ‘organic’.
- Thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables
Our Promise to You
At Verbena Boutique we are doing everything we possibly can to reduce the amount of EDCs in our products. Most, if not all, of the materials we use are phthalate and BPA free. In our effort to keep everything 100% transparent, we will immediately let you know if we make any type of error in regards to the chemicals in our products.
Lots of love! (AND ALWAYS READ THE LABEL)
Kayla & the VB team