What Are High Phthalates?

What Are High Phthalates?
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With a wide range of physical and chemical properties, phthalates are used in a multitude of consumer and industrial products that demand high performance, long-lasting wear and durability. They can be found in a range of everyday items consumers depend on to function properly, including: electrical cables, automobile interiors, flexible hoses, flooring, wall coverings, coated textiles, luggage, sports equipment, roofing membranes, pool liners and footwear.

While they can be employed in a variety of applications, phthalates are not necessarily interchangeable. The characteristics of an individual phthalate often make it well suited to a particular product, allowing manufacturers to meet unique requirements for its use (function and safety specifications), appearance (texture, color, size and shape), and durability and wear.

Phthalates Brochure: Customer Satisfaction and Product Performance

From energy-efficient roofing, to flexible adhesives and sealants, to durable interior finishes, phthalates are used in building and construction products to make materials and surfaces last longer and to make them easier to maintain.

Car Interior


Automotive Applications

Interiors, vinyl seat covers and interior trim in automobiles use high phthalates because of their ability to withstand high temperatures and their effectiveness in making these products more resistant to degradation. PVC coatings and components in cars help prevent corrosion from water and weather elements. Flexible vinyl is also used in cars and trucks to make them lighter and more fuel efficient.

Phthalates are widely used, and yet actual exposure levels are hundreds or thousands of times below levels of concern established by regulatory authorities.

“Automotive uses for Phthalates

Upholstery and Interior Finishes – DIDP, L9P, L9-11P

PFor upholstery and interior finishes, high phthalates are an excellent choice because of their durability, stain resistance and ability to withstand extreme temperatures.

“Automotive uses for Phthalates

Interior PVC Skins – DIDP, L9P, L11P

High phthalates’ ability to resist degradation and withstand high temperatures helps to protect interior surfaces like dashboards and shift boot covers.

“Automotive uses for Phthalates

Windows – DINP, DIDP

The ability of high phthalates to withstand difficult weather conditions and prevent corrosion make them an excellent choice to help windows fit on the vehicle and stay in place.

• Urethane glass bonding adhesives (window glazing) – DINP, DIDP
• PVC window encapsulate – DIDP

“Automotive uses for Phthalates

Doors – DINP, L9P

Urethane expandable foams, made with high phthalates, are added to car doors for structural support and to decrease exterior noise.

Body-Side Molding – DIDP, L9-11P, L11P, DTDP

The exterior of a vehicle is exposed to constant sunlight and varied weather conditions, so PVC molding made with high phthalates provides UV resistance and the ability to withstand difficult weather conditions.

“Automotive uses for Phthalates

Molded Interior Applications – DIDP, L9P, L9-11P, L11P

Because of their durability, high phthalates are used in compounded PVC for molded interior applications like elbow rests, cup holders and door handles.

Wire and Cable – DINP, DIDP, L11P, DTDP

PVC insulation for wire and cable and wire harnesses made with high phthalates provides durability, low volatility, low temperature flexibility, low conductivity, heat resistance and electrical resistivity.

Synthetic Lubricants and Engine Oils – DIDP, DTDP

The temperatures reached by synthetic lubricants and engine oils means it’s vital for them tobe made with materials that can withstand extremely high temperatures, like phthalates.

“Automotive uses for Phthalates

Sealants – DINP

PVC and acrylic plastisol sealants made with high phthalates are used in wheel wells, underbody coatings and paint to maximize performance and extend the life of the product through the wear-and-tear of everyday vehicle use.

“Automotive uses for Phthalates

Window Shades — DINP

High phthalates are used in durable and flexible PVC-backed floor mats.

Building and Construction


High phthalates are a family of chemical compounds primarily used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC)—or vinyl—flexible, pliant and durable. Flexible vinyl products made with high phthalates can help reduce a building’s environmental footprint. Phthalates are widely used, and even when scientists hypothesize extreme exposures from phthalates in building products, because of unique properties of high phthalates, the predicted exposure levels are hundreds or thousands of times below any level of concern established by regulatory authorities.


  • Flexible vinyl made with phthalates can last longer than phthalate alternatives, and typically less energy and other resources are needed to manufacture and install it.
  • Flexible vinyl made with phthalates is durable, weather, UV and stain resistant. Phthalates are tightly held in the structure of vinyl, are odorless and do not readily evaporate.

“Adhesives and Sealants

The Adhesives and Sealants — DINP, DIDP

Phthalates help make adhesives and sealants more flexible to maximize performance and extend the life of the product.

“Adhesives and Sealants

Electrical Wiring Coating — DIDP, DPHP, DTDP, L11P

Durability, low volatility, low temperature flexibility, low conductivity, heat resistance and electrical resistivity make phthalates a material of choice for safeguarding wires in homes.

“Adhesives and Sealants


Floors are made stain resistant, low maintenance and more durable because of the use of phthalates.


“Adhesives and Sealants

Pool Liners — DIDP, DINP, L9P, L911P

The weather resistance of phthalates make them excellent to help protect your pools.

“Adhesives and Sealants

Roofing — DINP, DIDP, DPHP, L9P, L911P

The use of phthalates in roofing materials help to make roofs UV resistant with a service life and more energy efficient.

“Adhesives and Sealants

Wall Coverings — DINP, DIDP, DPHP

Phthalates help improve the longevity of wall coverings and contribute to low indoor air emissions.

“Adhesives and Sealants

Window Shades — DINP

Phthalates can withstand high temperatures and improve the durability of flexible vinyl products, so they’re a great choice for window shades.

The U.S. Green Business Council (USGBC) has spent years studying the environmental impacts of vinyl building products. Their findings, released in February 2007, concluded that vinyl generally has no greater environmental impact than other building products – and in some cases has less impact. Despite this past conclusion, USGBC recently added a pilot credit to the library for its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program that would encourage building designers to avoid the use of products containing phthalates. The pilot credit represents a significant departure from USGBC’s historic focus on improving performance through a building’s entire life cycle. USGBC has not determined that exposure to extremely low levels of phthalates from their use in building products presents a health concern, however, nor has it evaluated the safety and performance of building products that don’t contain phthalates.

Flexible PVC

Because phthalates help make PVC resistant to changing weather conditions – maintaining flexibility in cold conditions and resisting degradation in high temperatures – they are used in many outdoor products, including: swimming pool liners and waterproofing for roofs and footwear, like rain boots.

Wire and Cable

Durability, low volatility, heat resistance and electrical resistivity make phthalates a material of choice for protecting wires that run through homes and offices to charge our computers, appliances and a variety of other machines used in our daily lives. Wires and cables sheathed with PVC help prevent potentially dangerous electrical accidents.


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