Phthalates are known as endocrine disruptors. It is known to affect male and female reproductive organs. There are evidences that this chemical affects reproductive organs of certain animals. However, its effects to human are not yet established.
Endocrine disruptors are exogenous substances that “interfere with the synthesis, secretion, transport, binding, action, or elimination of natural hormones in the body that are responsible for the maintenance of homeostasis (normal cell metabolism), reproduction, development, and/or behavior.” They are sometimes also referred to as hormonally active agents, endocrine disrupting chemicals, or endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs).[by wikipedia]
Avoidance of intake is almost impossible. Phthalates remain stable in environment for a long period and we have used the substance for more than fifty years.
Uses of phthalates are:
1) in food packaging: making adhesives and printing inks
2) perfume carrier in cosmetics
3) used to make some children toys
4) intravenous blood bags and other medical equipment
5) in some paints and vinyl floorings.