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Phthalates: Chemicals primarily used in plastics, and also many cosmetics, where they act as lubricators. Linked to early puberty, autism, obesity, and birth defects. Due to the growing  collection of alarming studies, phthalates are being phased out of many children’s toys and products in the U.S., and their use has been heavily restricted in Europe since 1999 (for toys only). You will not see phthalates on a label–most often they are included under the terms:  “fragrance” or “parfum.”