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Phthalates Facts

Are phthalates used in fragrances safe?

Yes. Diethyl phthalate (DEP) is safe for use in fragrances and is among the most thoroughly tested substances in the class of phthalates. DEP has been reviewed by numerous government bodies, e.g. European Union Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and consistently supported as safe for use at current levels. Most recently, in 2008 the U.S. Congress omitted DEP from a list of phthalates of concern.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel, which is comprised of physicians and scientists who have been publicly nominated by consumer, scientific and medical groups, government agencies and industry, after completing an extensive review of all the DEP and other phthalates. Based on the available information included in its peer reviewed literature report, the CIR Expert Panel concluded that DEP is safe for use in cosmetic products in the present practices of use and concentrations.

How does the fragrance industry know their ingredients are safe?

The safety of fragrance ingredients is a top priority for the fragrance industry. Fragrance material suppliers take substantial and effective product stewardship measures to assure the safety of these products. New scientific data are constantly evaluated to ensure that the highest standards are applied to the creation of fragrances.
The principal means by which fragrance material producers and fragrance manufacturers address the safety of such materials is through the scientific work of the Research Institute for  Fragrance Materials (RIFM). RIFM analyzes, evaluates and distributes scientific data, cooperates with official agencies and encourages safety standards for the use of fragrance ingredients. Findings, Ingredients Safe as Used, page 3.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for Diethyl Phthalate, June 1995.

World Health Organization (WHO), Report on Diethyl Phthalate Chemical Assessment, Document 52, Geneva, 2003.

European Commission SCHER (Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks) Opinion on Emission of Chemicals by Air Fresheners, January 27, 2006, http://ec.europa. eu/health/ph_risk/committes/04_scher/scher_ opinions_en.htm.

European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) Opinion on Phthalates in Cosmetic Products, March 21, 2007,  committes/04_sccp/docs/sccp_o_106.pdf.

Scientific Committee on Consumer Products and Non-Food Products 

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