IEEE Access, Vol. 6, PP. 6232-6242, DOI: 10.1109/ACCESS.2017.2778950

Phthalates in Electronics: The Risks and the Alternatives

Michael G. Pecht1, Fellow, IEEE, Irfan Ali1, and Augustus Carlson1
1CALCE, Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20740, USA


Phthalates are common plasticizers found in many everyday products, including adhesives, plastics, flooring, cosmetics, and electronics. Phthalates are generally incorporated into materials to enhance their flexibility and durability. However, most phthalates used in electronics are low-molecular-weight ortho-phthalates that have been shown to have serious health effects, and as a result, ortho-phthalates are becoming regulated. This paper presents the chemistry of ortho-phthalates, their usage in the electronics industry, and potential alternatives to phthalate plasticizers, including bio-based substitutes and thermoplastic elastomers.

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