Phthalates are a group of chemicals commonly used as preservatives in products ranging from cosmetics to pharmaceuticals. When phthalic anhydride is reacted with alcohol(s) [methanol (C1), ethanol (C2), to tridecyl (C13)], the end products are used primarily as softeners or plasticizers for polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
These plasticizers increase the flexibility, durability, and longevity of plastics. You can imagine how lucrative this is for the manufacturers on the world market. This is good for the manufacturers, not so good for us.
Here’s why: University research studies have shown 100 out of 100 Washingtonians tested had phthalate concentrations in their urine samples. (1) Other studies point to it possibly being a carcinogen (defined as anything with potential to cause cancer) as well as them being endocrine system disruptors (interfere with healthy hormone metabolism and production). (2) Such hormone disruption can result in cancerous tumors, birth defects and other disorders depending on what age the disruption occurs.
To help protect ourselves from chemicals such as these, we must become label conscious. When reading labels don’t believe this: “phthalate free”. Also be aware of phthalates being hidden under the term “fragrance” on the label. Many products that say this are banking on the fact that you do not know how to detect phthalates in their products. The purpose of this article is to educate you on how to look for these chemical plasticizers in the products you use on your skin, hair and body. Phthalates are added to fragrances to make the “scents” last longer. Why is this so important? Ingredients should smell like nature and absorb quickly, so why would the smell matter after that?
There are over 4000 ingredients covered under the “fragrance umbrella”. (3) Since the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) considers “fragrance” to be proprietary, the manufacturer’s ingredients can and will remain a “secret”. It is only necessary for “fragrance” to be listed on the label. My jaw dropped when I learned this fact.
So, let’s get to the bottom of this and FACE the fact that we need to be our own detectives. This is what you should look for in your personal care products and AVOID at all costs (throw them away!). Also, remember that the only expensive product is one that doesn’t work and one that worsens YOUR health. BOTH!! As a matter of fact, if it ends in a P it PROBABLY belongs in the garbage and not in your PANTRY because it is PLASTIC and POISONOUS. BOTH!!
We need to remain committed to dedication to education in the area of toxins in our skin care. In August 2008, a bill was signed to permanently prohibit three types of phthalates: DEHP, DBP, and BBP in the concentration of more than 0.1% in “children’s toys” or “child care articles.” Also, the state of California announced an impending ban on the use of phthalates in toys and childcare products intended for babies and children under the age of 3.