Phthalates are a family of chemicals that act as plastic softeners, and are commonly found in products made of PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). These include electronic appliances such as computers, car components such as interior upholstery and floor mats, , construction materials such as wall coverings and flooring, and many consumer goods such as toys, shower curtains, drink bottles, food containers and other packaging. They can also be found in certain household cleaners, personal care products, air-fresheners, nail polish, paint, etc. Because they make plastic flexible, they’re often also found in sex toys to increase flexibility and durability.
Recent research has found phthalates to pose serious health risks, specifically to the liver, kidneys, and reproductive organs. Studies show that some phthalates disrupt the endocrine system (they mess with our hormones) by mimicking oestrogen. As a result, they’ve been linked to infertility, birth defects and liver cancer.