"Phthalates: Are They Safe?"

"More than ever, people are worried about how all the chemicals we're exposed to are affecting our health: among them a family of chemicals known as phthalates, which are used in everyday plastics.

Not plastic bottles of water or soda, but soft and flexible things like shower curtains. They're also in shampoos and carpeting.

Phthalates are so ubiquitous, we all have traces in our bodies.

Recently the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, put phthalates on a list of chemicals that 'may present a risk' to the environment or human health. That's because they disrupt hormone activity and some preliminary studies show that they may be causing a slow and steady demasculinizing of men.

But if phthalates were on trial, a jury might find the evidence against them conflicting and inconclusive. And yet last year Congress took action, doing what Europe had already done: it banned certain phthalates in children's toys."

Lesley Stahl reports for CBS'60 Minutes May 23, 2010.

See Also:

"The Plastic Panic" (The New Yorker)

Monday, May 24, 2010