Phthalates are derived from phthalic acid and are used in many ways: the dominant plasticizer in PVC; as a solvent in perfumes and pesticides; as a finishing lure in nail polish, adhesives, caulk and paint; in the production of low end sex toys (if you own a rubber sex toy that did not say phthalates-free always use a condom to protect yourself from your toy); modern electronics such as computers, cell phones and MP3 players; and in beauty products to stabilize fragrances.
According to the interview I was listing to on CBC radio last night there is no law in Canada or the US at this time that forces manufacturers to disclose if they are using Phthalates in beauty products including those for children and babies. CBC also reported regarding phthalates: "In the study, they were found in elevated levels in the urine of babies who'd been recently shampooed, powdered or lotioned with baby products"
Now why should we as parents be concerned; well in laboratory testing it was proven that phthalates cause damage to the reproductive system. I know I would like my son one day to be able to give me grand kids.
So the moral of this story is read labels make sure everything you buy is phthalates free; don't trust labels because they don't need to disclose if they use phthalates; don't buy PVC toys especially ones that will end up in the little ones mouth.
If you want to read up more on this subject here are a few interesting articles I found: