Scientists discover way to prevent phthalates leaching out of PVC   

In order to make it flexible and durable, manufacturers add large amounts (up to one third of the total weight) of plasticizers, made mainly from phthalates, to PVC to make it flexible and durable. However, over time the plasticisers they migrate to the surface of the plastic and escape into the environment and onto those who come into contact with them. The PVC plastics also become less flexible and durable.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2009 banned use of several phthalate plasticizers for use in manufacture of toys and child care articles.

However scientists at the Institute of Polymer Science and Technology in Madrid have now found a way to make phthalate permanently bond, or chemically attach to, the internal structure of PVC so that it will not migrate. Laboratory tests showed that the method completely suppressed the migration of plasticiser to the surface of the plastic.


Navarro et al. Phthalate Plasticizers Covalently Bound to PVC: Plasticization with Suppressed Migration. Macromolecules, 2010; 100121082610027 DOI: 10.1021/ma902740t


Click here for more research on possible causes of chemical sensitivity

First Published in Febuary 2010

Top of page