I don’t even know how to pronounce that, and the Modern Oxford Australian Dictionary that I keep by my desk has nothing between Phrenology and Phut. The OED on my computer is rather more helpful:

phthalic acid /”(f)TalIk/

  • n. Chemistry a crystalline acid derived from benzene, with two carboxylic acid groups attached to the benzene ring.

– DERIVATIVES phthalate n.

– ORIGIN C19: shortening of naphthalic (see naphthalene).

I am assuming that phthalates contain or are derived from phthalic acid, and this is reassuring.  At least this new threat to humanity is already known to the scientific community.

‘Threat to humanity’? Yes!  Research links ingestion of phthalates to high blood pressure, diabetes, allergies and male infertility.  These chemicals are not present in food or added to food, but are widely used in packaging materials to give them flexibility.  They are used in soap too, to reduce brittleness.  So packaged food can absorb phthalates.

A US study of 9,000 individuals found a strong correlation between eating ‘fast food’ (defined as food bought in a restaurant and not served by a waiter/waitress) and the presence of phthalates in the body. Click here to find out more – and to become even more scared of eating fast food.

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