Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate

Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate

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Credit: DR TIM EVANS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), molecular model. Atoms, represented as tubes, are colour- coded; carbon (blue), oxygen (red) and hydrogen (white). Phthalates are a group of chemical compounds widely used as plasticisers, substances that soften plastics. Products they are used in include toys, medical devices, cosmetics, and food wrap. Phthalates do not chemically bind to the plastic and so readily leach out of it. This, with evidence that they may be carcinogenic, disrupt hormones and cause organ damage, led the European Union in June 2005 to ban the use of DEHP and other phthalates in toys and childcare articles where their concentration exceeds 0.1% of the mass of the material.

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