Friday, April 11, 2008

The Phthalate Debate

I received the following email from a customer concerned about Phthalate issues. I have posted my response on the blog in response to other emails and phone calls I have received about this 'hot' topic.


You know, it's was surprising last year that most of the vendors I utilize for my M&P soap making hobby, even know what Phthalates were. Now, it seems to be some are changing and some are not. That's ok. I still have some questions that I'm hoping you can help me with. I'm sure this is a major undertaking... I am looking forward to hearing from you. I currently have a drawer full of fragrances I need to use up, and reassess the direction I'm going.


Here is my post:

There has been much debate in recent years about the use of 'phthalates' in cosmetics, fragrances oils, and medical equipment. Phthalates are a group of chemical compounds used in plastics and as fragrance stabilizers. The discussions concerning the use of phthalates have increased lately due to a report published in the Pediatrics Journal about the alleged health effects of phthalates in children. The Journal conducted a study in Seattle that analyzed urine samples from 163 infants for the presence of phthalates. The presence of at least one phthalate molecule was found in every urine sample, while 81% of the samples had measurable amounts of more than one phthalate. Those infants exposed to multiple fragranced baby products tended to have the highest level of phthalates in their urine. Based on this, it was concluded that the topical application of fragranced baby products was the culprit.

A rebuttal was issued to these finding by the Personal Care Products Council. They stated that the results “do not make sense because only one of the seven phthalate compounds reported is even used in baby care products. This suggests that most of the phthalates found in the urine samples came from another route of exposure…” DEP (diethyl phthalate) is the phthalate used in fragranced baby-care products which is regarded as safe for use. The researchers responsible for the published study did not test any baby-care products for the presence of phthalates (only urine samples were examined) and their research did not account for other potential means of exposure. The mere presence of DEP does not equate to genuine risk.

The FDA continues to evaluate data on DEP and has not taken any action to restrict the use of DEP in fragrances. Extensive research on DEP has shown no evidence of being a reproductive toxin or endocrine disruptor as suggested. Even the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) which provides scientific advice on the safety of non-food consumer products has concluded that DEP is safe for use in cosmetic products in the present practices of use and concentrations and represents no quantifiable risk for the consumer. The SCCP is the regulatory arm of the European Union comparable to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

GoPlanetEarth realizes there are individuals who may want to advertise a Phthalate-free product. Over the course of the next few months we will be adding a line of Phthalate-free fragrances to enable buyers to make fragrance choices based on their marketing niche and customer base. GoPlanet's current fragrance selections will remain unchanged.


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