Can you say “phthalates?” Part 1

How many personal-care products do you use every day?

  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Body wash
  • Hair spray
  • Nail polish
  • Aftershave lotions
  • Hair gel
  • Hand lotions
  • Lipstick
  • Perfume or cologne

Did you know that many personal care products contain plastic? New warnings are out about the health risks of a somewhat mysterious substance called “phthalates” found in plastics.

Our own Paul Penders’ chief chemist, Dr. Gatot, explains that these are often added to cosmetics to make them long lasting or to enhance their smell. He promises, “We have never used them in PP products and never will.”

Do the personal care products you use contain phthalates? Probably. You might never know because often phthalates are swept under the label ‘fragrants’ (or ‘fragrance’) and therefore do not have to be listed on the containers. Look on the ingredients lists of your favorite products for these phthalates, which, if listed at all, may be indicated with an abbreviation. The three most commonly used in personal care products are: DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate), DEP (diethyl phthalate), and BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate).

Can you say “phthalates?” It’s a tricky word (pronounced tha-layts) that has become the subject of intensive lobbying activities and major research studies. Why? Because phthalates have been linked in recent studies to childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes, especially in older women.

Scientists now place phthalates in a class of chemicals termed “endocrine disruptors” – because they have been shown to affect the endocrine hormonal system of the human body. They actually mimic hormones; as a result, there is potential for neurological and reproductive damage.

Researchers found that adult women have higher levels of phthalate metabolites than men do, probably because they use more cosmetics and other skin and hair care products.

Recent studies have also demonstrated possible connections between plastic toys and childhood obesity – and now toy manufacturers are rushing to remove phthalate plastics from the market.

We live in a chemical world – see the new September 2012 updates to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals (2009).

Yes, this is scary stuff.

According to the CDC, “the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that the DEHP [probably the most common phthalate] may reasonably be anticipated to be a human carcinogen. The EPA has determined that DEHP is a probable human carcinogen. These determinations were based entirely on liver cancer in rats and mice. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has stated that DEHP cannot be classified as to its carcinogenicity to humans.”

Our air, water, and food are all loaded with chemicals – an environment that our ancestors never experienced. Leading environmentalists Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie described the effects of their self-tests in their startling book, Slow Death By Rubber Duck (2011).

It’s now almost ‘old hat’ to say that we live our 21st Century lives very differently than people did in the past. We plunge our hands into detergents to wash dishes and clothes. We add fabric softeners to the wash water; spray aerosol fragrances into the air; hold objects near our heads that emit rays (mobile phones) or sleep up close to machinery that emit measurable radiation (TVs). We walk under wires or live near huge towers that any good electrician could tell you send out huge waves of energy.

What are we doing to our bodies? It’s a question I find myself asking daily. As I continue to research for this blog and my own interest, I am increasingly grateful for companies like Paul Penders International that takes an environmentally conscious stand and uses only high quality organically grown herbs in their formulas.

Given the choice between coating yourself in plastic and washing in tropical herbs and flowers, which would you choose?

By Teviot Fairservis.


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