Results of Human Volunteer Study on Phthalates Used in Cosmetics Show No Effect on Hormones

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The American Chemistry Council comments on the results from a human volunteer study that states that two phthalates used in cosmetics, diethyl phthalate (DEP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), had no effect on the levels of key hormones in participants.

Now we have direct, human evidence from a real laboratory test in which phthalates did not influence the levels of key hormones

Daily slathering with a lotion containing diethyl phthalate (DEP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) had no effect on levels of reproductive and thyroid hormones in 26 healthy male volunteers, Danish researchers have reported. "Now we have direct, human evidence from a real laboratory test in which phthalates did not influence the levels of key hormones," said Marian Stanley, manager of the American Chemistry Council's Phthalate Esters Panel.

"Pressure groups have publicly speculated for years that these two phthalates may be linked to reproductive damage in human males, despite quality science to the contrary - official risk assessments that found minimal to no concern with them as they are used in personal care products today," Ms. Stanley also said. "Once again we see that it doesn't serve the public interest to speculate - we need to follow where the science leads."

DEP is used as a solvent for fragrances. DBP is used in nail polish. They are commonly portrayed by interest groups as so-called "endocrine disruptors" capable of causing reproductive damage to human males. Every day for one week, researchers at Bispebjerg Hospital in Denmark spread a lotion containing DEP and DBP, along with another chemical commonly used in cosmetics, over the entire bodies of 26 young, healthy male volunteers. The results, reported in Environmental Science and Technology, showed that the chemicals were absorbed to some extent and entered the blood streams of the subject. But, the researchers reported, the blood tests showed that "the systemic absorption of these compounds did not seem to have any short-term influence on the levels of reproductive and thyroid hormones in the examined young men."

"This study is the first direct human evidence corroborating earlier risk assessments which support the safe use of DEP and DBP in consumer products," said Ms. Stanley. "Consumers who have had a campaign of fear and doubt aimed at them for years about the personal care products they buy deserve to hear this news."

About The Phthalate Esters Panel:
The Phthalate Esters Panel (the Panel) of the American Chemistry Council is composed of all major manufacturers and some users of the primary phthalate esters in commerce in the United States. Panel members include: BASF Corporation, Eastman Chemical Company, ExxonMobil Chemical Company, and Ferro Corporation. Teknor Apex Company, a major user of the materials, is an associate member. For more information visit http://www.phthalates.org.

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