Phthalate Testing

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Phthalate TestingPhthalates are a large family of chemical compounds used as plasticizers (softening agents) in a wide variety of products.  Their primary use is to make products soft and pliable without sacrificing durability.  Common uses of phthalates include personal care products, cosmetics, detergents and surfactants, building materials, automobile components, and other plastic objects including toys and baby products.

Although research and debate concerning the toxicity of phthalates in humans is still underway, there is growing concern that phthalates may cause adverse health effects in young children because these class of chemicals may interfere with the child’s normal developmental processes.

In February 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a new regulation under Section 108 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that severely limits the concentrations of phthalates found in certain baby products including children’s toys and other childcare products.  This includes products used to assist in a child’s sleeping, sucking, feeding or teething and some apparel including sleepwear and bibs.  There are six phthalates regulated by the CPSIA at levels typically not to exceed 0.1% in these childcare products.

The European Union, in European directive 2005/84/EEC has also banned the use of certain phthalates in many consumer and child care products.

ALS Environmental can analyze for phthalates in water, soil, food products and consumer products, including toys and other baby and childcare products.

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Instrumentation for Phthalate Testing

Samples for phthalate testing are initially extracted and then analyzed using a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer operated in a selective ion monitoring mode (GC/MS/SIM).  ALS Environmental has used this method for determining phthalates in medications, consumer products, ambient air, soil and water and other applications related to environmental and human health risk.  Concentration levels from the low parts per billion to per cent levels can be determined using these procedures.

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ALS Environmental routinely tests for the following list of phthalates:

Phthalate chemical structure
Phthalate Type
Benzyl butyl phthalate
Bis(2-ethylhexyl) Adipate
Bis(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate
Dicyclohexyl Phthalate
Diethyl Phthalate
Di-iso-decylphthalate
Di-iso-nonylphthalate
Dimethyl Phthalate
Di-n-butyl Phthalate
Di-n-hexyl Phthalate
Di-n-octyl Phthalate
Di-n-pentyl Phthalate
Di-n-propyl Phthalate

ALS Environmental has the ability to analyze for additional phthalates and related chemical compounds upon request.

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