Perhaps one of the most ubiquitous household toxic compounds, phthalates are plasticizing chemicals found in vinyl products and products containing artificial fragrances (there are thousands).
Men with higher levels of phthalates pay for it in the sperm quality department: In studies, their sperm tested as abnormal or showed signs of suffering DNA damage. Phthalates act as a man-made estrogen in the body, which could be messing with a guy’s manhood.
Found in: Vinyl products, including shower curtains and faux leather; scented products like cologne, perfume, candles, air fresheners, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and fabric softeners; shampoo, soap, hairspray, body spray, lotion, deodorant, and other personal care items.
Protect yourself: Avoid vinyl products (try a hemp shower curtain), opt for beeswax candles when you need ambiance—they actually help clean your indoor air, not pollute it; choose unscented, plant-based laundry products, and use white vinegar as a fabric softener; read personal-care product labels and bypass ones that label “fragrance” or “parfum” as an ingredient. It’s a catch-all term for thousands of chemicals, including phthalates.