The Dangers of Phthalates on Fertility

The dangers of phthalates on fertility and the growing fetus are numerous, and there is not much media coverage about it. Phthalates are most commonly found in plastic products, fragrances, and cosmetics. Research shows that phthalates can interfere with your reproductive health and even impair your ability to get pregnant. Phthalates are often added to plastic products to make them more flexible and durable. They are also used in fragrances to help the scent last longer. Unfortunately, when we use these products, the phthalates can be absorbed through our skin, inhaled, or ingested.

Types of products that phthalates are found in 

  • Plastic food storage containers, particularly those made from PVC plastic or recycled plastics
  • Vinyl flooring and wallpaper
  • Plastic shower curtains
  • Some types of plastic food packaging (some types of cling wrap, sandwich bags, freezer bags)
  • Cosmetics and personal care products, such as shampoos, lotions, and perfumes
  • Some types of medical devices, such as IV bags and tubing
  • Children’s toys and baby products, such as teething rings and soft plastic toys
  • Some types of plastic bottles and containers
  • Some types of household cleaners and air fresheners
  • Some types of insect repellents and other outdoor products
  • Some types of automotive products, such as dashboard materials and seat covers.

Types of foods that may be high in phthalates

  • Fatty or high-fat foods, such as cheese, butter, and meats, may absorb phthalates from packaging materials during storage and transport.
  • Processed or packaged foods, such as fast food, snack foods, and convenience meals, may contain phthalates from the packaging materials used.
  • Canned foods, which may contain phthalates from the lining of the cans
  • Some beverages, such as bottled water, may contain phthalates from plastic bottles.

How else are people exposed to phthalates?

  • Inhalation: Phthalates can be released into the air from products like vinyl flooring, shower curtains, and air fresheners can be inhaled.
  • Skin contact: Some personal care products, such as lotions, perfumes, and cosmetics, may contain phthalates that can be absorbed through the skin. 
  • Medical procedures: Some medical devices, such as IV bags and tubing, may contain phthalates that can be released into the bloodstream during medical procedures.
  • Workplaces: People who work in specific industries, such as plastics manufacturing and construction, may be exposed to phthalates through their work.
  • Dust: Phthalates can be present in household dust due to the use of phthalate-containing products like vinyl flooring and plastic furniture.
  • Water: Phthalates can be present in water due to contamination from plastic pipes or other sources.

Studies have linked phthalate exposure to various reproductive issues, including hormonal imbalances, disruptions to ovulation, and decreased semen quality. In particular, phthalates have been shown to reduce the levels of reproductive hormones in both men and women, making it more difficult to conceive. According to the Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals released by the CDC, researchers found that women had higher levels of phthalates in their bloodstream compared to men. The CDC has found that this exposure is mostly due to phthalate exposure from shampoo, soap, body wash, cosmetics, and personal hygiene products. 

What are the dangers of phthalates on fertility?

While it’s impossible to avoid exposure to phthalates completely, there are steps you can take to minimize your exposure. First and foremost, read the labels of the products you use and avoid those that contain phthalates. Many products will explicitly state whether or not they contain phthalates, but you may need to do some additional research to be sure. Secondly, look for natural and organic products whenever possible. These products are less likely to contain phthalates or other harmful chemicals. In addition, try to avoid plastic products whenever you can, as they are a major source of phthalate exposure.

Tips to minimize phthalate exposure

  • Avoid using products that contain phthalates. This includes vinyl flooring, personal care products (e.g., shampoo, lotion, fragrance), plastic food packaging, and some medical devices.
  • Choose natural or organic products. Look for personal care products made with natural or organic ingredients, and choose food products that are minimally packaged or packaged in materials known to be phthalate-free.
  • Use glass or stainless steel containers. When storing food or beverages, use glass or stainless steel containers instead of plastic containers. This will reduce your exposure to phthalates that can leach from plastic containers.
  • Avoid heating food in plastic containers. When heating food in the microwave, use a glass or ceramic container instead of a plastic container.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Phthalates can be found in dust, and washing your hands often can help reduce your exposure.
  • Vacuum and dust frequently. Vacuum and dust your home frequently to reduce the number of phthalates that may be present in dust.
  • Choose phthalate-free building materials. If you are building or renovating your home, choose phthalate-free building materials.

Finally, consider making some lifestyle changes to reduce your exposure to phthalates. For example, try to eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods contain antioxidants that can help your body eliminate toxins like phthalates more effectively. One study in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research found that ginseng extract helps to get phthalate and BPA induced hormone levels back to normal. You can also reduce your stress levels, as stress exacerbates the negative effects of phthalates on your body. If you are pregnant

In conclusion, if you’re trying to conceive, you must be mindful of the chemicals you may be exposing yourself to daily. Phthalates are just one of the many chemicals that can harm your fertility. By taking steps to reduce your exposure, you can help protect your reproductive health and increase your chances of getting pregnant.


If you are looking for a Denver acupuncture clinic to help you with your fertility or digestive problems, headaches, pain, psychological conditions, or women’s health issues, contact us today at (720)285-6251 or book an appointment online.