Smells Like Phthalates

By Kristie Turck •  Published 03/04/08 •  3 min read

Last updated on July 14th, 2022 at 09:46 am

I feel like a broken record with this phthalates business and on top of it, running a site like this I hit moments of panic where I feel as though everything around me is potentially harmful. I have to reel myself in once in a while or I start to give myself anxiety and need to drink red wine until it passes.

But then I get a grip and see that there are small changes I can make that are easy and make sense for my family. I ran across an article somewhere ( I forget where) and decided to look into it further. The premise of it was over phthalates in scented candles. I’ve been meaning to post something about phthalates and chemicals in household air fresheners and I’ve long sworn off the use of spray air fresheners for a long time. But phthalates, which helps synthetic fragrances bond to the product, are found in candles, incense, and potpourri. Healthy Child Healthy World (one of my favorite websites) sums this up nicely:

Candles are also a source of indoor air pollution, according to the EPA, leaving black soot deposit (BSD) on floors and surfaces. Scented candles create the most soot.

BSD is primarily made up of elemental carbon, but may also contain phthalates and volatile organic compounds like benzene and toluene, which can cause cancer and neurological damage. BSD can be inhaled while airborne, but may also settle on surfaces like floors. BSD is especially attracted to electrically charged surfaces such as freezers, plastic blinds, TVs and computers.

Children may ingest BSD, after touching the floor or other surfaces and then putting their hands in their mouths. BSD, when inhaled, can lodge deep in the lungs, the lower respiratory tract or alveoli (very tiny tissue inside the lungs).

I know what you’re thinking. “GREAT… one more thing…” But there are easy solutions to this without selling your home and moving into a mud hut and sewing your clothes out of hemp.