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Phthalates in perfumes not dangerous says trade body

By Katie Bird , 06-Feb-2008

The French cosmetics and perfumery trade association reassures consumers after the recent US study linking baby care products to phthalates in the body.

FIPAR (Le Fédération des industries de la Parfumerie) stated that the only phthalate allowed for use in cosmetics in the European Union is diethylphthalate (DEP), unlike the US where other phthalates are permitted.



The DEP is used principally to denature the alcohol used in perfumes - to make it undrinkable, according to FIPAR.



Furthermore, the trade association states that this use of DEP presents no health risks to the consumers.



FIPAR reacts to recent US study



It references the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) who concluded in a report released in March 2007 that the concentrations used in cosmetics products are far from toxic levels.



The actions of FIPAR come as a response to a recent study published in the US journal Pediatrics that linked the use of baby care products to the presence of phthalates in the urine of infants.



The study investigated the presence of 9 phthalate metabolites in the urine of 163 infants. Exposure to baby care products was estimated from parental reports of product use in the 24 hours prior to the urine sample.



The team found that the reported use of baby lotion, powder and shampoo was significantly associated with the concentrations of monoethyl phthalate (MEP), monomethyl phthalate (MMP) and monoisobutyl phthalate (MiBP) in the urine samples.



US study suggests toxicity in infants



"These findings suggest that dermal exposures may contribute significantly to phthalate body burden in this population," conclude the researchers.



Although little scientific evidence suggests that the chemicals have negative effects on the human body, animal studies highlight the impact they could have on sexual development of animals.



The US trade association the Personal Care Products Council questioned the validity of the study, highlighting that only the parent compound of MEP (DEP) was present in baby care products.



The Council criticises the study for not controlling for other means of exposure to the chemicals that are also present as plasticisers in many plastic baby toys and dummies.



Similarly the PCPC attest to the safety of the chemicals referencing a Cosmetic Ingredients Review Expert Panel and the SCCP study mentioned above that conclude the safety of DEP use in such products.



"DEP has been extensively researched and is not linked to reproductive toxicity or endocrine disruption," said Bailey.

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