Phthalates are used extensively as a plasticiser and found in everyday products such as toiletries, nail polish, and fragrances. Plasticisers are substances that add flexibility, or as the name suggests, plasticity to things that would otherwise be more brittle. Plastic softeners and solvents are used widely in cosmetics and toiletries including shampoos and body lotions. Some phthalates have already been banned for use in consumer products in the EU, but many remain in use.
Phthalates in food packaging are legally approved but their use is restricted in the EU. Small particles can be released from packaging into food, but the identifiable levels are considered safe until conclusive proof is given.
The European Food Safety Authority updated their risk assessment of 5 key phthalates and concluded they present no risk within a safe, ‘Tolerable Daily Intake’ level.