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Questions and answers on phthalate plasticisers

FAQ of the BfR and the German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA), 7 May 2013

Phthalates are chemical compounds which are used as plasticisers for synthetic materials. There are various phthalates with different harmful effects on health - for example, some have an effect on the hormonal system, others on the liver. There are varying limits for the different phthalates to protect consumers. The use of certain phthalates is forbidden in some products such as toys, baby items, cosmetics and food packaging.

The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has been regularly monitoring the levels of phthalate exposure in people in Germany for the last number of years. For a long time, one of the phthalates most frequently used and frequently detected in urine was DEHP. The main source of exposure is food. Small children also ingest DEHP through house dust and many items that they place in their mouths.

In everyday life, ingestion of the plasticiser DEHP can be reduced through simple dietary and hygiene habits. It is proven that having a varied diet, preparing fresh meals, consuming fewer convenience foods and changing product brands often (the same products can contain different levels of DEHP depending on the manufacturer) reduces the intake of DEHP. To decrease exposure to chemicals from house dust, floors and carpets should be cleaned regularly. Parents can protect their children by ensuring that small children do not put anything in their mouths that was not manufactured and intended for that purpose.

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07.05.2013
FAQ of the BfR and the German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA)
Questions and answers on phthalate plasticisers 43.1 KB
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