The impact of phthalate esters on the environment and human health. Are these compounds, a necessary evil?

Phthalates are a group of diesters of phthalic acid (dialkyl or alkyl aryl esters of 1,2-benzene dicarboxylic acid) and they are primarily used as plasticisers (substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility). As the phthalates are not chemically bound to the polymer, these compounds can migrate from the plastic material to the environment and, consequently, they are found in food, water, soil, air and in the human body. This article discusses the problem of using those compounds, their toxicity and impact on humans and environment. Comments about the four phthalates currently most discussed, measured values and current legislations are presented.

Author: Dos Santos, Marcel Silveira ;Full Source: Periodico Tche Quimica 2011, 8(16), 52-59 (Port) ;