Diisodecyl phthalate

Diisodecyl phthalate

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Credit: DR TIM EVANS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP), molecular model. It has the chemical formula C16.H22.O4. Atoms, represented as tubes, are colour-coded: carbon (white), hydrogen (blue) and oxygen (red). Phthalates are a group of compounds widely used as plasticisers, substances that soften plastics. 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 DIDP and other phthalates in toys and childcare articles that children could put in their mouths where their concentration exceeds 0.1% of the mass of the material.

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