What is Phthalates?

Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are commonly used as plasticizers in various consumer products, including textiles. They are added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. In textiles, phthalates are used in various applications such as coatings, finishes, and printing inks.

Phthalates are known to be endocrine disruptors, meaning that they can interfere with the body's hormonal balance. Exposure to phthalates has been linked to various health problems, including reproductive and developmental abnormalities, asthma, and allergies. Phthalates can leach out of textiles and contaminate the air, water, and soil, leading to long-term exposure.

As a result, there are regulations in place to limit the use of phthalates in consumer products, including textiles. In the European Union, certain phthalates have been restricted under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation.

In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) limits the use of certain phthalates in children's toys and childcare articles.

In response to the health concerns associated with phthalates, many textile manufacturers have started to develop phthalate-free products. Alternatives to phthalates include bio-based plasticizers, such as citrates and adipates, as well as other types of plasticizers, such as epoxidized soybean oil and acetyl tributyl citrate.