Monday, February 16, 2009

Myth Debunking: the Truth about Phthalates

There is a very interesting article in PDF form which you can down load for free from the Fragrance Materials Association of the United States clicking The Phthalates file link. It explains what they are, their subdivisions into different kinds, whether they are included in fragrance or not and discusses their risks. Recommended reading!


  1. Hi Helg,
    Thanks for posting on such a "hot" item - phtalates are so long a matter of discussion.

    Unfortunately I can't open the link to the PDF file. Do I need to be a member of FMA to read it? Or there is an error in a link?

  2. Hi Max!

    Thanks for stopping by! No, it's a free file, you're not supposed to be a member (although that certainly helps sometimes!). The link opens fine for me. Do you have Adobe Reader configured on your computer though? If not, you can download it from the Internet I think.

  3. Thanks for posting this, E. I didn't know that phthalates are used in fragrances. I'm never sure where I come down on these issues. I'm inclined to say we should err on the side of caution, but then we wind up with ridiculous situations like the oakmoss restriction.

    Considering that I often wear vintage perfumes that contain known carcinogens and neurotoxins, I guess I'm not too concerned about this--still it's good to be informed about the debate.

    PS. Your decant will go in the mail tomorrow. Sorry to be a slowpoke!

  4. Dear M,

    you're very welcome. It's a question that often crops up and it needed addressing. This is a good article from a reputable source.
    I believe the matter has to do with the plasticisers used, not with the juice itself. It can be helped I believe.
    There is often too much panic or too much indifference and I always like to think that the truth is in the middle: It's useful to be able to make an informed choice and there are some segments of the population which have reasons to be more concerned (ie. pregnant or planning to conceive mothers etc.).

    No need to rush, I appreciate your trouble anyway! :-)

  5. i'm siding with you and BG on this; I resent the craziness these findings always spawn.

    Great to read.

  6. Hi E,
    Interesting read. I'm sure you can guess that I err on the side of caution in wanting to avoid phthalates since I have a natural beauty blog and all. LOL. But I am not fanatical about my concerns and still use non-natural based perfumes from time to time. (In fact I am enjoying Kelly Caleche a great deal today).

    But there is that chance that they might be endocrine disruptors and might effect fetal development which, as you mention, would potentially concern a specific set of women who wear perfume. (That's a huge number of women who are of childbearing age!) And being a nurse midwife, that's also my passion.

    From my perspective, we just need to be educated, and then make choices from there. I for one don't take a huge amount of stock in the FDA or other government or industry bodies to have my best interest at heart. (Maybe I'd make a good conspiracy theorist)?


  7. T,

    I appreciate the informed choices above all.
    And thanks on the additional link. There is concern for lots of people, I agree with that and it's good to check for ones'self rather than relying on others (I think it's mostly the plasticizers on the packaging though, not the juice itself in most cases)

  8. Hi E,
    Yes, it's all about education, and then moving on from there.

    But some companies do use phthalates in the fragrances themselves. As per the first paragraph from the article you linked:
    "It is also used in fragrances to help blend fragrance ingredients and as a fixative to make fragrances last longer."

    They are even used in baby soaps!!

    And I'm sorry but I don't trust Johnson and Johnson to tell me that phthalates are safe for babies. I'd rather use Burts Bees or diluted unscented Dr Bronners.

    But I am not all that concerned w/ phthalates in perfume. I avoid them more strictly in lotions and body soaps since we use them more liberally all over our skin, and there's potential for absorption.
    Perfume....really we use so little on our bodies.

    OK, off my "soap" box. Viva la fragrances!!

    And BTW, my Vanille Galante might arrive as early as tomorrow :-)


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