Ubiquitous exposure to phthalates, found in everything from food packaging to personal care products, is putting children’s brain development at risk, according to Project TENDR (Targeting Environmental Neuro-Development Risks), a collaboration of scientists, health professionals and advocates for children and the environment.1
The group formed in 2015 due to concerns that toxic environmental chemicals were playing a role in neurodevelopmental disorders including autism, attention deficits, hyperactivity, intellectual disability and learning disorders.
Recently, they’ve honed in on phthalates, finding that enough evidence exists to call for immediate action to protect children’s brains from exposure to this harmful class of chemicals.2
Several Behavioral Disorders Linked to Phthalates
Phthalates are high-production volume chemicals used frequently as plasticizers in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other plastics.
An estimated 8.4 million metric tons of plasticizers, including phthalates, are used worldwide each year,3 with phthalate production amounting to about 4.9 million metric tons annually.4 The Norwegian Institute of Public Health found that 90% of those tested from 2016 to 2017 had eight different plasticizers in their urine.5