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[GRRN] Another resource for phthalates
If you are interested, Health Care Without Harm is another great resource
for information on phthalates.  Visit:
Health Care Without Harm is a collaborative campaign for environmentally
responsible health care made up of more than 250 organizations.  They are
primarily medical professionals and have a list-serv that continually
discusses the subject.

Have a great weekend!

Mark S. Kidd
Program Educator
Washington County Solid Waste & Recycling
155 N First Ave., MS 4
Hillsboro, OR 97124
v 503.846.8182 
f 503.846.4928

> ----------
> From:[]
> Sent: 	Friday, March 23, 2001 2:00 AM
> To: 	multiple recipients of
> Cc:;
> Subject: 	[GRRN] Rachel re plastics (phthalates) in us
> Dear All,
>   First a small correction on phthalates in "many" plastic films (possibly
> the error came from the news article Kivi quoted).  From Rachel
> Environmental 
> Health Weekly (REHW), & several other sources, I've read that 95% of all 
> phthalates produced in US are used in PVC plastic (vinyl), and PVDC 
> (polyvinylidene chloride) film (AKA Saran(tm) wrap, heat-seal meat or
> produce 
> wrap, etc).  In other words, other resins commonly used for films (LDPE, 
> LLDPE, HDPE) do not contain phthalates to my knowledge.
>   REHW is an excellent source of info on phthalates, & has covered the
> topic 
> in many issues.  I've pasted one example below.  Pls be aware that this is
> a 
> copyrighted article, & that REHW should be credited for the info (& could 
> also use more tax- deductible contributions at whatever level one finds 
> comfortable).
>   The REHW issue below gives many examples of the types of products that 
> regularly have phthalates added to them (as plasticizers, meaning to make
> the 
> PVC or PVDC more flexible and moldable; PVC in its original state is very 
> hard, like a sea shell). 
>   REHW also has a very good Automated Info Server that will send you
> issues 
> of the newsletter on keyword topics.  Works in a flash.  Endoindex
> [endocrine 
> disruptors] is one keyword that covers phthalates.  Probably there's more
> at 
> howtoresearch [chemicals].  To get instructions for the info server, send
> an 
> email to with the single word "help".  Or go to their
> website 
> <> for back issues.
>   The InfoServer also has a way to tap into NJ Dept of Health Factsheets
> that 
> have been issued on hundreds of chemicals the state has classified as
> toxic.  
>   I believe the REHW below is the one reporting on CDC study Cindy cited.
> It's worth a full read.
> Gretchen Brewer
> Earth Circle
> PO Box 81985
> San Diego, CA  92138-1985
> ph  619-298-7626, fax  619-298-7967
> Forwarded with the greatest respect for Rachel team & Environmental
> Research 
> Foundation:     
> =======================Electronic Edition========================
> .                                                               .
> .          RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH BIWEEKLY #708          .
> .                   ---September 14, 2000---                    .
> .                          HEADLINES:                           .
> .                HERE WE GO AGAIN: PHTHALATES                   .
> .                          ==========                           .
> .               Environmental Research Foundation               .
> .              P.O. Box 5036, Annapolis, MD  21403              .
> .          Fax (410) 263-8944; E-mail:           .
> .                          ==========                           .
> .    All back issues are available by E-mail: send E-mail to    .
> . with the single word HELP in the message.   .
> .  Back issues are also available from   .
> .      To start your own free subscription, send E-mail to      .
> .     with the words               .
> .       SUBSCRIBE RACHEL-WEEKLY YOUR NAME in the message.       .
> .    The Rachel newsletter is now also available in Spanish;    .
> .     to learn how to subscribe, send the word AYUDA in an      .
> .              E-mail message to               .
> =================================================================
> Several new studies indicate that common industrial chemicals
> called phthalates (pronounced tha-lates) in food and water may be
> interfering with development of the reproductive system in both
> boys and girls.
> ** For 20 years, large numbers of baby girls in Puerto Rico
> between the ages of six months and 2 years have been experiencing
> premature breast development, a condition called precocious
> thelarche (pronounced thee-larky). Since 1970, there have been
> 4674 cases of precocious thelarche recorded in Puerto Rico, where
> the condition is now occurring in 8 out of every 1000 baby girls,
> or just under 1%. Compared to a group of baby girls studied in
> Minnesota, precocious thelarche in Puerto Rico is 18 times as
> prevalent.
> For 20 years, scientists have tried to link the alarming epidemic
> in Puerto Rico to artificial hormones in meat, pharmaceutical
> manufacturing wastes, and infant formula containing high levels
> of phytoestrogens (plants that contain natural estrogen-like
> chemicals), but no satisfactory explanation has emerged. Now
> researchers have found evidence linking precocious thelarche to
> common phthalates.[1,2]
> Blood samples from two groups of girls in Puerto Rico -- 41 baby
> girls with precocious thelarche and 35 with normal development --
> were examined for pesticides and phthalates. Pesticides were not
> found in either group. Phthalates were present in the blood of
> 68% of the precocious thelarche group and 14% of the control
> group. Phthalates tend not to bioaccumulate, so phthalates
> measured in blood are likely to reflect current exposures, not
> past exposures.
> Phthalates are common industrial chemicals used in building
> materials, food packaging and food wrap, toys and other
> children's products, medical devices, garden hose, shoes, shoe
> soles, automobile undercoating, wires and cables, carpet backing,
> carpet tile, vinyl tile, pool liners, artificial leather, canvas
> tarps, notebook covers, tool handles, dishwasher baskets, flea
> collars, insect repellents, skin emollients, hair sprays, nail
> polish, and perfumes.
> (The Environmental Health Network in California has petitioned
> the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require labeling of
> perfumes that contain toxic phthalates, such as Calvin Klein's
> Eternity. See http//
> FDApetition/fdapetit.htm.)
> One particular phthalate -- di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP
> -- accounted for 88% of the total phthalates measured in the
> precocious thelarche group and 80% of the total phthalates in the
> control group. The average levels of DEHP in the control group
> were 70 ppb and in the precious thelarche group 450 ppb -- more
> than six times as great.
> Some phthalates mimic estrogen (female sex hormone) and others
> interfere with androgen (male sex hormone).[3,4,5] In laboratory
> animals, some phthalates can cause birth defects and can disrupt
> hormones, leading to altered sexual development. Regarding
> reproductive and developmental effects in laboratory animals,
> phthalates vary in potency, with DEHP being about 10 times as
> potent as the other phthalates.[6]
> The average daily consumption of DEHP by children in the U.S. is
> estimated to be 5.8 milligrams per day.[1] The most important
> source of DEHP exposure is contaminated baby formula, food and
> water contaminated by contact with plastic containers and food
> wrap, and plastic toys and pacifiers made soft by the addition of
> DEHP. Because Puerto Rico is an island, above-average quantities
> of prepared foods are shipped there packaged in
> phthalate-containing plastics.
> This small study does not prove that phthalates are causing
> premature sexual development among baby girls in Puerto Rico,
> but, combined with what is known about phthalates from laboratory
> animal studies, it provides a strong suggestion that phthalates
> may be contributing to the epidemic.
> To maintain current awareness of phthalates and other
> endocrine-disrupting chemicals, check back regularly at http://-
> ** A very recent study reveals that phthalates are present in the
> blood of adult Americans "at levels we are concerned about,"
> according to John Brock, a chemist with the federal Centers for
> Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. Brock and his colleagues
> studied phthalates in the blood of 289 adults and found levels
> "higher than we anticipated."[6,7]
> Many laboratory products (such as plastic tubing) contain
> phthalates. As a consequence, phthalates are often found in
> samples analyzed in laboratories because lab equipment
> contaminates the samples. For the past decade, scientists have
> been finding phthalates in human tissue samples, but they have
> assumed they were measuring lab contamination. Consequently, no
> one has raised an alarm about phthalates in adult humans, until
> this month.
> To measure phthalates in human urine, Brock and his colleagues
> developed specialized techniques for identifying metabolic
> byproducts of phthalates; in other words, they learned how to
> measure the chemicals that are produced when phthalates are
> processed by a human liver and kidney. By this means, Brock could
> be sure his team was measuring human exposures to phthalates and
> not merely contamination introduced into samples from laboratory
> equipment.
> Brock tested for and found seven phthalate metabolites in human
> urine. The four phthalate metabolites found at the highest levels
> came from DEHP, DEP (diethyl phthalate), BzBP (butyl benzyl
> phthalate) and DBP (di-N-butyl phthalate). "From a public health
> perspective, these data provide evidence that phthalate exposure
> is higher and more common than previously suspected," Brock and
> his colleagues concluded.[6] They offered additional reasons for
> concern:
> ** The highest phthalate levels were measured among women of
> child-bearing age (20 to 40) -- about 50% higher than among
> groups of different age and gender.
> ** DEHP, DBP and BzBP are known to cause birth defects in
> laboratory animals. (Note that BzBP is sometimes known as butyl
> benzyl phthalate, or BBP.)
> ** DBP is toxic to the testicles.
> ** The metabolites of BzBP and DEHP that Brock measured are toxic
> to sertoli cells (the cells that produce sperm). Next month a new
> study will conclude once again that for three decades there has
> been a steady (1.5% per year) decline in the quantity of sperm
> produced by men living in industrialized countries.[8] No one
> knows if exposure to phthalates is involved in the decline.
> ** Administration of DBP and DEHP to pregnant rats interferes
> with the fetal development of male rats. DBP is widely used in
> perfumes, nail polishes, and hair sprays, allowing for efficient
> absorption through the lungs.
> Phthalates were recently measured in baby food and infant
> formula.[9]
> The National Research Council (NRC) (of the National Academy of
> Sciences) discussed two phthalates in its July, 1999, study of
> endocrine-disrupting chemicals (see REHW #665 ). The NRC noted
> that female rats exposed to BzBP in water prior to mating
> produced male offspring with significantaly smaller-than-average
> testicles, and reduced sperm counts.[10,pg.21] A subsequent
> attempt to reproduce this experiment failed to achieve the same
> results, for reasons that remain unknown.
> The NRC also noted that DBP has been shown in several animal
> studies to cause atrophy of the testicles, and destruction of
> sertoli cells (the cells that produce sperm). A multigenerational
> study concluded that "DBP is a reproductive and developmental
> toxicant to both adult and developing rats and that DBP had
> greater effects on the second generation than [on] the first
> generation."[10,pg.122] A different study showed that pregnant
> rats dosed with DBP at a particular time during pregnancy
> produced offspring with significant incidence of undescended
> testicles.[10,pg.123] In humans in industrialized countries, the
> occurrence of undescended testicles (a condition called
> cryptorchidism) has been increasing in recent decades.
> Dr. Louis Guillette, a University of Florida zoology professor
> and a member of the NRC committee that studied hormone-disrupting
> chemicals, says that Brock's study of phthalates in adults "is
> going to rewrite how we look at phthalates.... Phthalates have
> been something of concern up to this point. Basically they're
> going to leap upward in terms of concern."[7]
> In the U.S., the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has created
> a new Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction
> (CERHR). In June of this year, a CERHR panel of experts concluded
> its evaluation of seven phthalates. Although the CERHR study has
> not yet been published, CERHR issued a press release July 14 in
> which they acknowledged that the panel of experts had expressed
> "concern" that exposure of pregnant women to DEHP might adversely
> affect the development of their offspring.[11] DEHP is the
> chemical measured in baby girls with precocious breast
> development in Puerto Rico.
> As scientific and medical evidence accumulates, linking
> phthalates to reproductive disorders in humans, the chemical
> industry is digging in its heels for a 50-year fight. The
> industry produces a billion pounds of phthalates every year and
> has no intention of acknowledging that its products may cause
> birth defects, infertility or hormone disruption.
> Because the chemical industry is so wealthy and donates huge
> quantities of cash to election campaigns (a perfectly legal form
> of bribery), in the U.S. there is almost no way to get rid of
> chemicals that have frightening characteristics, like phthalates.
> They are here to stay. "I can tell you that we're going to be
> working on phthalates for a long time here at CDC," says John
> Brock.[7] On the other hand, a citizen revolt could change the
> election financing system almost overnight and immediately reduce
> the political power of the chemical industry. Change is possible,
> but only if people get angry and get involved. (See
> =================
> [1] Ivelisse Colon and others, "Identification of Phthalate
> Esters in the Serum of Young Puerto Rican Girls with Premature
> No. 9 (September 2000), pgs. 895-900. Available at http://-
> [2] Janet Raloff, "Girls may face risks from phthalates," SCIENCE
> NEWS Vol. 158 (September 9, 2000), pg. 165.
> [3] Catherine A. Harris and others, "The Estrogenic Activity of
> Vol. 105, No. 8 (August 1997), pgs. 802-811. Available at:
> [4] Susan Jobling and others, "A Variety of Environmentally
> Persistent Chemicals, Including Some Phthalate Plasticizers, Are
> No. 6 (June 1995), pgs. 582-587. Available at: http://-
> [5] Janet Raloff, "New Concerns About Phthalates; Ingredients of
> common plastics, may harm boys as they develop," SCIENCE NEWS
> Vol. 158 (September 2, 2000), pgs. 152-154.
> [6] Benjamin C. Blount and others, "Levels of Seven Urinary
> Phthalate Metabolites in a Human Reference Population,"
> 2000), pgs. 972-982. Available at:
> docs/2000/108p972-982blount/blount-full.html.
> [7] Daniel P. Jones, "Troubling chemicals detected in people,"
> HARTFORD [Connecticut] COURANT August 26, 2000, pg. unknown.
> Available at
> texis/web/vortex/display?slug=chem26&date=20000826.
> [8] Shanna H. Swan and others, "The Question of Declining Sperm
> Density Revisited: An Analysis of 101 Studies Published
> (October 2000), pgs. 961-966.
> [9] Jens H. Petersen and T. Breindahl, "Plasticizers in total
> diet samples, baby food and infant formulae," FOOD ADDITIVES AND
> CONTAMINANTS Vol. 17, No. 2 (February 2000), pgs. 133-141.
> [10] Committee on Hormonally Active Agents in the Environment,
> National Academy Press, 1999).
> [11] National Toxicology Program, Center for the Evaluation of
> Risks to Human Reproduction, Expert Panel Review of Phthalates,
> press release dated July 14, 2000, available at http://-
> or by phoning Bill Grigg at (301) 402-3378 or Sandra Lange at
> (919) 541-0530.
> ################################################################
>                              NOTICE
> In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 this material is
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> Environmental Research Foundation provides this electronic
> version of RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH BIWEEKLY free of charge
> even though it costs the organization considerable time and money
> to produce it. We would like to continue to provide this servi
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