Phthalates Provide Many Benefits

Phthalates provide many product and consumer benefits — public health, performance, fun and function — and are used in many important applications for these reasons, from recreational and safety equipment to building and construction materials. They are used in protective coatings for wire and cable to prevent fires and corrosion; in sealants to insulate glass; in wood varnish to prevent chipping; in reflective roofing material to improve energy efficiency; and in flooring, wall covering and healthcare facility furnishings to enhance cleaning and maintenance.

They are specifically chosen as a plasticizer because they are resistant to extraction, evaporation and migration. Phthalates are the primary plasticizer in use today because of their cost, performance and availability, and because they have a 50-year history of safe use. 

Available research on a variety of topics includes:

Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion

  • How different species take up phthalates in different ways
  • The organs they go to and in what amounts
  • How rapidly they are broken down and clear the body

Short-term Exposure, Irritation and Sensitization

Research exploring whether exposure to phthalates triggers allergic reactions, including reactions related to asthma.

Long-term Exposure Studies

Research exploring whether adverse health effects seen in rodents are species-specific or whether they are relevant to higher-order animals, including primates.


Research exploring cancer effects seen in some rodents from high doses of some phthalates and whether those effects are relevant to humans or are caused by biological mechanisms (including peroxisomal proliferation) that do not occur in humans.

Mutational Studies 

Research exploring whether certain phthalates cause mutations in the genetic makeup of rodents.

Developmental Studies 

Research exploring the potential for certain phthalates to have developmental effects in rodents.

Reproductive Studies

Research exploring the potential for some phthalates to have reproductive effects in rodents including:

  • Effects on fertility and/or effects on reproductive organs
  • Dose levels that caused such effects

Endocrine Modulation Studies

Research exploring whether phthalates have estrogenic effects in living animals.

Biomonitoring Data

Material relating to the biomonitoring research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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