Phthalates, pronounced THAL-ATES are used to soften plastics and we are exposed to them constantly. Phthalates are believed to disrupt hormones and we do our best to stay away from them. They have been linked to a number of issues including birth defects, asthma, fertility complications and even obesity (I know, right). Currently, phthalates are banned in children’s toys but they can still be found in a variety of other products, including cosmetics and body care.
The list of products containing phthalates is a mile long. They are used in just about every plastic product on the market even shower curtains and mini-blinds. Believe it or not, they are even used to make pacifiers and other baby chew toys until the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission put a stop to it. While it is nearly impossible to stay clear of phthalates altogether, it is probably a good idea to not knowingly use products that contain them.
Exposure to very low levels of the chemical can come from eating packaged food (which is also a no no). Even at low levels, phthalates are believed to be endocrine disruptors. Individuals with the highest exposure risk are patients who are on dialysis, people with hemophilia or people who receive blood transfusions where the containers or tubing are made with phthalates. The Food and Drug Administration is actively working to find other alternatives and minimize the risk.
Can phthalates affect my health?
The effects of phthalates on the health of the human body is currently being studied by a number of government agencies, including but limited to the Food and Drug Administration, the National Toxicology Program’s Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
So far, the chemical has been listed as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”. I don’t know about you but anything that says “carcinogen” scares me a little bit. Actually anything with the “C” word freaks me out a little bit. When looking for fragrances for It’s All Buttah products, I also opt for phthalate free. In my opinion, some of the very best fragrances come from nature. Essential oils are optimal for scenting products but are a bit limiting. I would not be able to create lovely fragrance blends like Apricot Freesia or Chardonnay with just essential oils so the next best option is to use fragrance oils that are phthalate free.
What’s being done about phthalate use in products?
Although there has not been any significant regulatory action to stop the use of the chemical, it has become a common practice for responsible companies to stay clear from it. The good news is that the use of phthalates in cosmetics has drastically reduced in the last decade. There are some companies ( that I will not name) that continue to use phthalates and they make infant care products ( gasp). Infants exposed to baby care products, specifically baby oils, lotions, powders and shampoos show increased levels of phthalate metabolites in their urine.
The government does not require the ingredients used in the production of fragrances be listed. When considering purchasing a body care product, check out if the ingredient label says “fragrance”. When listing the ingredients for It’s All Buttah products, we actually note that our fragrances are phthalate free. In this world of chemicals, we are doing our best to keep you safe.