Columbia Analytical Services

Columbia Analytical Offers Testing to Detect Phthalate Levels

News ReleasesA recent article in the journal Pediatrics has raised further questions about the presence of phthalates in the environment. They note that certain phthalates, found in numerous baby care products, may lead to developmental and reproductive toxicity in infants.

Phthalates are synthetic chemicals that are used to make vinyl products flexible and soft. They also make products like nail polish harder to chip and make fragrances last longer. They are found in many industrial and common household items, including PVC plastics, cosmetics, personal care products (including most lotions, shampoos and powders), plastic toys, vinyl products and almost all products with fragrance. Phthalates are also used in medical devices, and numerous items our homes and cars. Essentially, phthalates are everywhere.

Phthalate testing is problematic due to their wide spread use and background levels can lead to false positive results.  Therefore the laboratory must eliminate background sources of phthalates and ensure that quality control data supports that the analysis is free of these interferences. Although there are a number of analytical testing alternatives, the most common way for a laboratory to test for phthalates is using a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer operated in selected ion monitoring mode (GC/MS/SIM). This GC/MS/SIM technique is currently being used by Columbia Analytical Services in similar studies investigating phthalates in medications, ambient air, and other applications related to human health risk. Columbia Analytical has performed analytical testing for phthalates for over 20 years.

For more information on testing for phthalates, contact Jeff Christian, Columbia Analytical Services, Inc. at 360-577-7222.

butyl benzyl phthalate

Chemical structure of butyl benzyl phthalate

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33 Responses to “Columbia Analytical Offers Testing to Detect Phthalate Levels”

  1. Melaney J. Currie Says:

    Do vinyl-covered polyurethane foam crib mattresses out-gas phthalates and other toxic chemicals that could contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. If so, does covering the crib mattress with a polyethylene mattress cover, as suggested by New Zealand scientist, Dr. Sprott, protect the newborn baby against these toxic chemicals and help to prevent SIDS?

  2. Columbia Analytical Says:

    Thank you for your question. I would suggest contacting your local medical provider or the CDC (Center for Disease Control). We only test for the presence of phthalates and other chemicals.

  3. jennifer Says:

    Hi Melaney,

    I suspect that we will see that off-gassing mattresses are indeed the culprit in SIDS (although whether or not this information will be made public is another story). It makes sense that SIDS rates decreased when children started sleeping on their backs as their airways are now directed away from the mattress. I am not a doctor or a scientist in the field, but it seems clear to me. I bought an organic mattress and let my daughter sleep on her stomach. You can find lots of organic options these days.

    good luck,

  4. Jean Schilling Says:

    I am a small business owner that creates and customizes kaleidoscopes. I have clients who are now requiring me to verify that my product is phthalate free. How do I have these test conducted? What will my costs be?

    Jean Schilling

  5. Columbia Analytical Says:

    Hi Jean,

    Yes, we do perform the required testing. Please contact us and we will give you a quote. We can be reached at the following number 360-577-7222 or 800-695-7222 x 07. Thank you for your interest.

  6. Rocky Bihl Says:

    Our company manufactures pvc plastisol screen inks. We need to certify that we do not use any of the 6 phthalates that are banned in europe and california for childrens toys. Are your test sensitive enough to identify banned phthalates from phthalates that are not banned such as DOTP.

  7. Dee O'Neill, Columbia Analytical Says:

    Hi Rocky,

    The following is the standard list of phthalates that we currently test for:

    Bis(2-ethylhexyl) Adipate
    Bis(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate
    Di-n-octyl Phthalate
    Dimethyl Phthalate
    Di-n-propyl Phthalate
    Di-n-pentyl Phthalate
    Dicyclohexyl Phthalate
    Diethyl Phthalate
    Di-n-butyl Phthalate
    Di-n-hexyl Phthalate
    Benzyl butyl phthalate

    The following is a list of the Consumer Product Safety Council Regulated Phthalates that we test for:

    Bis(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate
    Di-n-octyl Phthalate
    Di-n-butyl Phthalate
    Benzyl butyl phthalate

    We can test for the presence of these substances in the low parts per billion range. We can also test for other phthalates upon request, though the cost of the standard may be added to the cost of the analytical procedure.

  8. joanne Says:

    Do you have a product list that includes all the products might content phthalates? How about office products, such as pens, cd holders, rubber bands, white boards, is the phthaltaes requirement applied to these products also or only for kid’s toys and care products?


  9. Dee O'Neill, Columbia Analytical Says:

    Hi Joanne, thanks for your question.

    Phthalates are used in so many products that it would be hard to list of all products that may contain it. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) lists the types of products in which the level of phthalates is of concern; their committee will address this issue in early 2009.

    Please keep in mind that if phthalates are indeed in a particular product, it doesn’t necessarily mean it can get out and into your body or cause an adverse health effect.

    The best idea is to monitor the consumer products safety website and the various state regulatory agencies to see if the requirements will be extended to other products.

  10. RJ Says:

    Could a fabric that is used for clothing or bedding contain phthalates? If so why?

  11. Dee O'Neill, Columbia Analytical Says:

    Hi RJ,

    Yes, phthalates can be found in clothing and bedding or any textile in which phthalates were part of the manufacturing process. As the article states, phthalates are used primarily as plasticizers to soften polyvinyl chlorides (PVCs). PVCs may be used in clothing for waterproofing or for a number of other reasons. You can gather more information about this topic by searching the internet for the key words phthalates-textiles. I would raise a word of caution though - because of the concerns raised concerning phthalates, the use of phthalates is being phased out. Manufacturers should be contacted for the most current information concerning their products and any possible phthalate content.

  12. Tracy Tremblay Says:

    I run a very small company that imports embroidered badges with plastic backing that can be sewn onto a garment (similar to scout badges). We also create sashes to be sold to the same club from imported fabric. I believe we need to get these materials tested for phthalates and lead in order to be compliant with the new Federal rules regarding children’s clothing. What do you suggest?

  13. Dee O'Neill, Columbia Analytical Says:

    Hi Tracy,

    We can certainly perform that testing for you. You can contact us at 360-577-7222. Ask for either Howard Boorse or Jeff Christian.

  14. Ms. Carter Says:

    Hi Ms. Dee O’Neil:
    Thank you for the informative blogs and/or means of consumer communication regarding phthalates. My questions are:
    1). Upon completion of phthalate tests, does your company issue a form of certification with the required information as described in HR 4040 please?
    2). Is your facility a government accredited facility per description and/or information in HR 4040 please?
    3). What accredited test method/s i.e, ASTM, AATCC, ISO, etc will your facility be using to confirm phthalate presence and quantifiable amounts in conjunction with conforming to the requirements and information of HR 4040 please?

    Thank you for your time and explinations regarding.

  15. Columbia Analytical Says:


    As of today, the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) is not requiring certification or requiring the lab to be a listed CPA provider of phthalate testing. However, we do believe that early in 2010, this will be required. We are presently certified under our 17025 accreditation to perform the analysis according to the CPA method and plan to pursue the full accreditation as soon as it becomes available,

  16. Rajesh singh Says:

    i send for testing fack leather 1×1mtr
    and results are below mention:-
    Butyl Benzyl phthalate n.d
    bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate 12.82%
    di-n butyl phthalate n.d
    di-isononyl phthalate 0.71%

    detection limit:0.01%

    can you advise for france testing requirment and this result is pass or fail
    acording to france quiry
    please send me mail

  17. Pommy Says:

    As of your answer above, please kindly update your accreditation for Phthalate testing (such as CPSIA, ASTM, EN…).

    And how about HR4040 required, is it published now? Please kindly advise.

    Thank you in advance for your information…

  18. Columbia Analytical Says:


    I hope this will answer multiple questions.

    HR 4040 was passed into law in the US in 2008:

    The Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) has not yet required registration for laboratories testing for phthalates yet - it got pushed back until a later date. However we are approved under our ISO/IEC 17025:2005 certification to perform the test method that the CPSC is requiring for phthalate testing: CPSC-CH-C1001-09.1 (8270 Mod.). This method (which can be found on the CPSC website) dictates the method reporting limits (MRLs) that must be met. We can and do meet those required MRLs.

    We are not sure if France will accept our ISO certification, but if it does, we can perform the test.

  19. Kat Says:

    Are your methods for testing phthalates in food approved by any agencies, such as FDA or CPSC? Or have they been peer reviewed?

    Thank you

  20. Dee O'Neill Says:

    Hello Kat

    Our answer remains the same as above - we are approved under ISO/IEC 17025:2005 certification to perform the test method that the CPSC is requiring for phthalate testing: CPSC-CH-C1001-09.1 (8270 Mod.). This method (which can be found on the CPSC website) dictates the method reporting limits (MRLs) that must be met. We can and do meet those required MRLs. We have tested a number of matrices for phthalates, including food.

  21. Organic Baby University Says:

    Is there a way to test the phthalate levels in your body?

  22. Dee O'Neill Says:


    Thank you for contacting Columbia Analytical.

    Yes, you can test for phthalate levels in your body - you need to contact you local health provider for costs and availability in your area.

  23. Prerna Says:

    Is there a way to remove pthalates from a garment (organic garment)
    Reaso of presence of pthalates is the heat transfer label attached on the gmnt

  24. Mom of 6 Says:

    I am concerned that the vinyl flooring planks installed in our house has caused my daughter’s unexplained ill heath. Would it be preferable to test the air or product to dedect phthalete levels?

  25. Reena Says:

    Could you inform me if
    1) Corrosive Essential Oils if stored in HDPE Barrels would cause leaching of Phthaletes into the Oil from the Barrel.
    2) What is the limits for the presence of Phthaletes in Essential Oils in USA and Europe.


  26. Columbia Analytical Services Says:

    Hello Reena,

    1) Every container can be different. The only way to answer your question is by performing testing on your oils to see if this container leached any phthalates.
    2) Not sure what the limit is on oils, but the CPSA has a limit of 0.1 percent.

  27. Praveen Says:

    We are a leading manufacture in intimate apparels, as there are placement print on top of fabric we do send for Phthalate testing. I have below questions.
    1 - Is Phthalate testing done for fabric and print seperately, if we send smal placement print on a pc of fabric?
    2 - If not when a report says DEHP - 2000 and BBP 3000, how we can assure where is the issue, there may be of dyed fabric or print?
    3 - Is it possible to get two type of phthalate in one ink (print)?
    4- If we get a fabric with acceptable level of DEHP and when it printed with a phtalate contaminted ink, is there possibility of increase the DEHP levels due to curing (heat setting @ 160-180 C)?

  28. Wanita Patterson Says:

    It is excellent that public and commerical awareness regarding the dangers of phthalate.
    Do you have a list of the preferred labs that test for all the endocrine disrupters?
    Do you know if serum or urine metabilites are the most sensitive?

    I work in a medical practice and we want to offer cost effective testing for those patients who are asymptomatic and those who are symptomatic as well

  29. Rajeesh Kunnath Says:

    In children apparal, there are a palcement print below the waist band (Pant), we tested this print for phtaate test, DEHP, DNOP are detected, and these are more than desirable limit (0.1%), need your help here,pls help us how to imrove this as we need to put this samples for retesting.

  30. Jeremy Rea TEves Says:

    I’m a Masters in Construction Engineering student from Mapua Institute of the Technology in the Philippines and I’m working on a thesis proposal regarding the health impact of a burning plastic material. I need to identify its phthalates level in air. Does the material undergo a burning process when identifying the phthalates level? Can i request for the quotation on phthalates analysis? Thank you so much!

  31. Justin Says:

    Is it possible for you to test for ALL phthalates, not just the most common or dangerous.

    Thank you.

  32. M.Nazir Chaudhry Says:

    Please various methods used for phathalate testing and their comparison of merits & de-merits.

  33. Kamel Elagamy Says:

    Is this test can be conducted on air conditioning comprossers? Is so, what ASTM method do you use?


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