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XRF Testing for the Use of Determining Phthalates by Andrew Stratton

XRF Testing for the Use of Determining Phthalates by
Article Posted: 04/03/2009
Article Views: 475
Articles Written: 5522
Word Count: 549
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XRF Testing for the Use of Determining Phthalates

With the rising tide of a poor economy, world strife and religious discord, there are enough worries without being concerned of exposure to potentially harmful toxins and other side effects. As consumption has increased over the last fifty years, homes, workplaces, schools and pretty much everywhere else people dwell have been filled with products, some necessary, some extravagant and some just plain convenient.

As these products have gotten cheaper, more efficient and less space consuming, so have the materials used to make these products cheaper, more efficient and less space consuming. And as technology progresses certain materials are phased out as less expensive and more useful alternatives are found.

The scary part is how often things once thought of as safe and useful, such as asbestos and lead based paints have turned out to be so toxic. Even the things used to flavor foods, such MSG, have fallen out of favor with the public. Phthalates have been one the newest scares in the long line of fears over the toxicity levels of everyday products. And while XRF testing has shown to be useful and convenient for determining lead, it's been shown to not be as useful for determining phthalates.

Phthalates are common ingredients of many things used today. Called a plasticizer, it increases the flexibility of plastics. It's used on the coating for pills and as filler for pharmaceuticals. It can be used as both glue and paint. It is part of nail polish, building materials, clothing detergent, lotions, baby powders, shampoos pastes, paint pigments, and even food products.

Phthalates have been particularly popular in the use of children toys and other related products. Since they help make plastic more flexible and soft yet still durable, it is ideal for items pertaining to younger children. Phthalates are used in things aimed at helping children fall asleep, both quickly and comfortably. They help assist in feeding children and help with teething. They are also commonly found in bibs and pacifiers.

Though XRF testing is popular for determining other contaminants found in children toys and products, the complexities of phthalates make it difficult to completely isolate and identify. Modern testing is possible for analyzing food, everyday products, water and soil. While testing for phthalates does, on average, produce a high number of false products, multiple tests will help to rule out and reduce the inference commonly found along with the toxins.

Testing for phthalates is usually performed according to the strict and thorough guidelines set out in the consumer products safety information act. While this is a growing concern, very little evidence has conclusively proven that phthalates are toxic to developing children. For these reasons, its use in most products is being gradually phased out. It's really more a precaution, in case more dangerous evidence is determined later on.

It's good to be aware of this problem and to be informed. While it's best to not surround your child with products containing phthalates, they aren't really in any immediate danger. But as always, safe usually trumps sorry.

XRF testing is an advanced test for detecting contaminants in children toys and products, but phthalates are difficult to completely isolate and identify. If you're concerned about the effects that lead and plastics can have on your young children, visit

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