In her recent ChromaBLOGraphy posts, Minimizing Phthalate Interferences Using the Rtx-CLPesticides/Rtx-CLPesticides2 Columns and EPA Regulated Phthalates FREE?, my colleague Dan Li pointed out the ubiquitous nature of phthalates in our world because of their widespread use in plastic consumer products, and that phthalates likely have adverse human health effects, including as endocrine disruptors. Any of our blog posts on chemicals create awareness for me as to when those chemicals might pop up at home or work. Recently while attending the 14th International Symposium on Biological and Environmental Reference Materials (BERM 14) in National Harbor, Maryland, USA, I noticed the hotel-supplied shampoo and other bath products advertised “No Phthalates”. Chemical or biological notoriety often creates a market opportunity, as in this case and others (think: non-GMO food, organic or pesticide-free fruits and vegetables, flame retardant-free furniture, 3-MCPD-free soy sauce, etc.). In that regard, putting “No Phthalates” in big letters on a product is inherently different than making a phthalate ingredient declaration via the US Food and Drug Administration’s Fair Packaging and Labeling Act.
Knowing that phthalates are used in shampoos and other personal care products perhaps helps make sense of Penn State University wastewater and Las Vegas Wash water analyses we conducted using GCxGC-TOFMS where phthalates were some of the highest concentration compounds determined. If you need more tips for what phthalates are out there and how to gas chromatograph them, including how to move them away from organochlorine pesticides analyzed by GC-ECD, be sure and check out Dan’s excellent blogs above.