What's the truth behind the Phthalates Warning? Are perfumes and perfume oils that contain DEP or DBP safe? In a nut shell YES. DEP and DBP in cosmetics are safe. Some other Phthalates should be avoided by women of childbearing age (because they can pass chemicals onto young baby males and can result on small genitals or something). Oops.
One of my customers told me Phthalates were bad. (We were discussing perfume additives, such as DPG which she thought was ok).
Many of my favorite perfumes contain Phthalates. Red Door, Poison, Passion, and Estee Lauder Beautiful. I bought some Shalimar Perfume Oil, it contains Phthalates. The good news it was labeled. Most Phthalates are not listed on the label. In perfumes they do not have to be. In certain concentrations they do not have to be -except maybe in California.
So I did research on July 6, 2007.
Bottom line? DEP and DBP used in cosmetics are safe., DEP in perfumes is safe.
Use in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products: Of the many phthalates used in different ways today, two in particular (Diethyl Phthalate, and Dibutyl Phthalate) are used in cosmetics and personal care products because they deliver benefits that are difficult to otherwise achieve. For example, the addition of a small amount of DBP (dibutyl phthalate) provides just enough "give" to make nail polish chip-resistant. When perfume fragrances are dissolved in DEP (diethyl phthalate), they evaporate more slowly, making the scent linger longer.
Smaller-molecule phthalates do many different jobs. Some act as fixatives for perfume, slowing down evaporation and making the scent linger longer. Consumer and industrial applications range from making cosmetic nail polish flexible and screwdriver handles less brittle to helping make the time-release coatings on numerous pharmaceutical products. Phthalates help make lubricants, adhesives, weather stripping, and safety glass.
(Yes, some time release capsules have Phthalates coating them).
Larger molecule phthalates are used in PVCs and may be used in baby toys and some grown up toys.
Don't Worry about Perfumes and Nail Polish:
From my research, the kinds of Phthalates, DEP or DBP, used in cosmetics, especially perfumes is safe. Actually the dermal route may be safer than inhalation because of where the chemicals end up.
Some hair products contain phthalates, as does some nail polish. OPI as a brand did have them.
In 2002, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel, an independent body of toxicologists and dermatologists that regularly reviews compounds used in cosmetics and personal care products, completed an extensive review of all the literature on DEP and DBP and found them to be safe as used in cosmetics.
In 2003, The EU Scientific Committee reconfirmed DEP as safe at levels found in cosmetics, including when used to enhance the staying power of perfumes. DBP is banned in Europe, though not necessarily indicating it is unsafe.
Proctor and Gamble Beauty's Position on Phthalates
P&G Beauty has eliminated the phthalate ingredient DBP (dibutyl phthalate) from all of their products globally. As noted, this decision was not based upon any concern over safety, but on a commitment to comply with new European regulations. All tests and safety reviews conducted to date have shown there is no safety concern with this ingredient when used in cosmetics and personal care products.
The only other phthalates present at trace levels in some P&G Beauty products (usually as a component of the fragrance) are DEP (diethyl phthalate) and DMP (dimethyl phthalate). DEP has been confirmed as safe for use in cosmetics by EU and US expert panels, including the EU's own Scientific Advisory Panel convened to review proposed phthalate bans. Both DEP and DMP have been reviewed and confirmed as safe for use in cosmetics by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel.
Many other cosmetics have changed their formulas (possibly for the worst) to exclude Phthalates because they are controversial and maybe because they are evaluated with too broad a brush. Meaning there are a numbers of different phthalates.
There WAS a CAVEAT. Certain phthalates, (DEP, DBP) when used at certain concentrations were safe. So people who are unscientific try to scare you by saying you don't know what phthalates are in there and them because there could be three or four different ones, and no one considered the impact other than singly.
I worked at P&G for a time, testing their hair care formulas. They do extensive testing. I personally think their hair care products use some cheaper components, so I do not use them. A professional hairdresser agrees with me. P&G (and Helene Curtis, and many cheap shampoos), use ammonium laurel sulfate. I avoid it. P&G says it is ok.
I choose to use other Shampoo products, mostly Framesi. Some good ones, are:
- American Crew
- Paul Mitchell
- Baby Shampoo if you are an adult.
- Herbal Essence
- Helen Curtis Finesse Plus
- Head & Shoulders
- Vidal Sassoon (sold in drugstores)
- anything containing ammonium laurel/laureth sulfate, (opt for sodium laureth sulfate instead).
- use it to prespot cloths, like ring around the collar. Great wash pretreater.
- use it (with baking soda) to clean the soap scum from the shower
- save it to occasionally use to alternate off the good shampoo.
- make a sugar or salt scrub
- squirt a little in the tub when bathing to offset a bath tub ring
- put it in the guest bath!
Many conditioners weigh down hair too. They are water and polymers (waxes that weigh hair).