Knowing about phthalates is an important part of being an educated consumer. Phthalates can impact your health in unwanted ways, and they are a real threat because they are almost everywhere. Today I want to review what a phthalate is and what you need to know so you can make more informed choices as a consumer in today’s market.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals from phthalic acid that are used as plasticizers… they give hard plastic like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) flexibility and durability. Phthalates are also used in the production of most fragrance oils to help keep the scent from dissipating.
Let’s stop and think for just a second… how many things in your home have a fragrance? Perfume, laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, fabric softener, body sprays, lotions, hair spray, shampoo… The list is quite extensive already! And here’s another alarming question… how many of them touch your skin? All of them on my list do.
Phthalates can not only cross your skin’s barrier, they can also accumulate in your body. So much so that in testing, phthalates can be detected in urine.
Phthalates are known as endocrine disrupters, meaning they can look a lot like hormones to the body. You might be familiar with another endocrine disrupter, BPA (bisphenol A). Endocrine disrupters can interfere with the body’s natural endocrine system and result in developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune dysfunction. Phthalates in particular have been linked to reproductive toxicity and cancer.
There was an interesting study done in infants, and the study found over 80% of the infants tested had phthalate levels above the level of detection. This is important information if you have young children in your care or in your family.
The phthalate in fragrance oil is called DEP, or diethyl phthalate. Unfortunately, it’s rare that DEP is listed in an ingredient list. Manufacturers actually don’t have to disclose what ingredients are in a fragrance oil… they just list the ingredient as “fragrance.” Manufacturers who make fragrances without DEP often list their fragrance as “phthalate-free."
Other names you want to look for to avoid phthalates are: phthalate, DEP, DHEP and fragrance (unless it says phthalate-free).
You’ll be glad to know that all soaps at Hyssop Tree are scented with either essential oils or phthalate-free fragrance oils. I only use high-quality fragrance oils, which are becoming harder to find. For some reason many fragrance oils that were previously phthalate-free have been reformulated to include phthalates. But you can rest assured – the only fragrance oils I will use are phthalate-free.
I believe there is power in being an informed consumer. And I believe we should all ask for better products. Click here to shop phthalate-free soaps for you and your family!