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The dangers of phthalates in oilcloths.

What are these phthalates in oilcloths?

Phthalate is a substance that is added to plastics in order to increase flexibility, create non porous surfaces as well as durability of manufactured objects. Due to the positive effect on plastics phthalates are commonly present in everyday life gadgets such as fabric, cables, plastic packaging, electronic gadgets even baby bottles! Specifically, phthalates in oilcloths enables the fabric to become flexible, resistant to stains, in general a great investment to protect your table. However, with most things in life, something sound too good to be true! The same applies to the hidden effects of phthalates on our bodies. Here is a fancy picture of a phthalate molecule:

 phthalate free

Why phthalates in oilcloths are not good?

There a numerous studies that point out to the possible dangers of phthalates to humans. It is important to point out that most of the executed studies used animals as test subjects, therefore it has been suggested that humans might react to phthalates as animals do too.

According to research provided by the Mount Sinai Paediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit in New York City, phthalates might have negative effects on the development of a developing foetus resulting in premature birth as well as genital deformations! Further studies have shown that phthalates can induce liver and kidney cancers too!

In general phthalates do not bind, better said can not lock themselves to the products that are added to, so simple organic materials such as food, beverages or body fluids can release the phthalates in to the environment. With this said, a PVC oilcloth that contains phthalates can easily leach into a household! I’m not quite sure how to divert my anger in regards to this issue – why was this allowed by the consumer lobbies?! But I guess that question is a political question which I will discuss another time…


The ultimate question – Where can I find oilcloths sans phthalates?

Fortunately, there has been an increase of awareness of the negative effects of phthalates and numerous manufacturers have removed phthalates (such as BBP or Benzyl butyl phthalate) from their products. And, I am proud to announce that Marimekko has followed the trend too! From 2008, Marimekko has removed the phthalates from their oilcloth range!

Marimekko oilcloth

How does the removal of phthalates affect Marimekko oilcloths?

As Marimekko oilcloths are phthalate free, it is important to note that the non-porous property of the surface has been removed. Hence, if a dark liquid is spilled it is important to wipe the stain straight away. We at Yulki’s are proud to announce that we have added the Marimekko oilcloth range to our store. So, now you can be stylish as well as protect your family at the same time! Have a look at our Marimekko oilcloth range now! Below is a short and informative YouTube video about use of phthalates.


Julie @ Yulki’s



YouTube clip courtesy of European Council Plasticisers and Intermediates

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