Phthalates: What You Need to Know

Posted by Nicole on March 6

Did you know that for decades now, testosterone levels have been dropping in men, women and children?

One possible reason this may be happening is exposure to chemicals called “phthalates.”

What are phthalates, and could they be reducing your levels of T? Let’s find out.

What are Phthalates?

Phthalates are chemicals found largely in plastic products. They also are called “phthalate esters.”

Plastics can be brittle. By adding phthalates, manufacturers are able to make them more flexible so that it can stand up to more wear and tear and last longer.

Sometimes, plastic products also might contain phthalates to make them more transparent.

What Products Contain Phthalates?

Phthalates are in a wide range of products. Chances are good you have some items in your home right now that contain them.

The FDA reports, “Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products, such as toys, vinyl flooring and wall covering, detergents, lubricating oils, food packaging, pharmaceuticals, blood bags and tubing, and personal care products, such as nail polish, hair sprays, aftershave lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfumes and other fragrance preparations.”

What Are the Consequences of Phthalates for Male Health?

WebMD says, “Exposure to certain chemicals commonly found in plastics and other products is associated with lower levels of testosterone in men, women and children.”

The article references a study that analyzed data from over 2,200 participants.

The author of the study, John Meeker, said the results “support the hypothesis that environmental exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as phthalates could be contributing to the trend of declining testosterone and related disorders.”

You can also view a systematic review here that focuses on male reproductive health. After looking at the effects of six different phthalates, the researchers concluded that “phthalate exposure at levels seen in human populations may have male reproductive effects.”

So, to protect your reproductive health as a man, you may want to distance yourself from products that contain these chemicals.

Phthalates Are Also Bad for Women and Children

While phthalate exposure is a prominent health issue for adult men, it also impacts children. Women also can suffer from suppressed low levels of T, and phthalates particularly reduce testosterone levels in women and children.

The WebMD link shared previously says, “Higher levels of phthalates were associated with an 11 percent to 24 percent decline in testosterone levels among women aged 40 to 60, and a 24 percent to 34 percent drop in testosterone levels in boys ages 6 to 12.”

So, if you have a wife and kids, you may want to talk to them about the dangers of exposing themselves to phthalates as well.

How Can You Avoid Phthalates?

Avoiding plastic products in general can help you get away from phthalates. But you may not want to or be able to avoid them entirely.

Harvard Health Publishing says that plastics labelled “3” or “7” are particularly likely to have these chemicals in them. So you will want to stay away from those when possible.

Other tips are to stay away from foods that come in plastic packages, keep plastic dishes out of the microwave or dishwasher, and avoid personal care products with fragrances.

When possible, use natural products. Harvard says, “Use glass, ceramic, or metal containers for food and drink,” and “Go DIY. Things like honey, coconut oil, baking soda, vinegar, and salt can be used in place of many commercial beauty products.”

It may involve some time and research at first to make a lifestyle change. But once you get phthalates out of your household, you will be protecting your testosterone levels and reproductive health. You’ll also be doing the same for your family.

If you are looking for additional ways to support healthy testosterone production, consider taking a natural supplement like Tongkat Ali, Maca Root, Nettle Root, or Ginseng Panax.