Besides the hotly debated BPA and BPA-like substances, a range of other chemicals are typically added to plastics to tailor their properties. Many of these chemicals are safe and harmless, but other popular additives have been shown to cause adverse health effects when people are chronically exposed. Of particular concern are young children who are prone to direct exposure through putting things in their mouths. In 2008, the U.S. placed limits on the amount of phthalates in children's toys. 

Phthalate Basics and Alternatives

  • Technical Briefing: Lowell Center for Sustainable Production January 2011
  • Summary: Phthalates can cause adverse effects on reproduction and development, as well as some liver and kidney function disruption. The most common use of phthalates is as a PVC plasticizer. Plastics becomes flexible and tough when phthalates are added. Alternative molecules and plastics which don't require plasticizer are reviewed.