What are Phthalates and Why are Many Suppliers Now Making Phthalate-Free Fragrances?

In this day and age, not only do people want to know what they put in their bodies, but also on their bodies. Today we have the means and research capabilities to target health concerns of individual ingredients. 

As a result, natural and organic products are all the rage. Not only because they are trending, but because they are better for our long-term health. 

So what kind of chemicals are found in the self-care items we buy? 

Even as far back as 2005, an article in Environmental Health Perspectives reported reproductive and developmental problems as becoming more prevalent in recent decades, and environmental chemicals are strongly being indicated as the potential culprit(s). 

The article explained that many of the chemicals, at this time, had insufficient safety data about compounds that make up certain beauty products. Since this time, many studies have been carried out to look closer at risks involved with some of these chemicals.

In this post, we'll be exploring a chemical known as Phthalates. 

Many popular items from skincare products to fragrances contain this chemical. However, companies are starting to shift away from phthalates usage.

What are Phthalates Exactly?

Phthalates are a type of chemical that is used to make plastic more flexible. It is found in all kinds of commercial items such as toys & food packaging, but also, nail polish, detergents, hair sprays, pharmaceuticals, and even fragrance preparations. So, as one can imagine this chemical is all around us, everyday.

Phthalates are absorbed into the body and one can be exposed to them via ingestion, inhalation, skin absorption and intravenous injection. They tend to pass out of the body through urine or feces rather quickly compared with other chemicals

So what exactly does Phthalates do for cosmetics? Phthalates are used as a plasticizer, according to the FDA. In relation to this post (specifically) phthalates are used as a fixative in fragrances.  

Why Are Suppliers Making Phthalate-Free Fragrances?

What Information is Out there & What Does the Data Say? 

In a more recent study (then some of the information that dates back to the early 2000's), Harvard School of Public Health put out an article in 2016 indicating that phthalates may increase the risk of miscarriages and increase risk factors for gestational diabetes.

The links to above studies can be found here:

Other information out there links this from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, states that these chemicals are linked to endocrine disruption, and cancers as well.

According to the FDA website, the usage rates from 2004-2010 of phthalates have decreased considerably. 

It's important to note that the information we share here at RNtoZen.com is to help inform you. We are in no way conducting any of our own studies behind the use of phthalates or other chemicals. We are simply providing our customers the information that's out there about chemicals commonly found in cosmetics. 

As there seem to be many unknowns about phthalates, even to this day, we have decided not to use any products that contain them (i.e. the fragrances we use are all Phthalate-free) 

As a result of this, many companies and manufactures are moving away from phthalates. However there are also many perfumes and fragrances that still use this chemical, as phthalates help increase the longevity of fragrances and other beauty products. 

We feel it's also important to say that there seems to be "links" created for phthalates and potential harm to humans (in animal studies), but few studies that give repeatable hard data that phthalates are considerably harmful and to what exposure levels they are harmful. At least this is what we have found during our research. 

According to Zero Breast Cancer, more of the research is in reference to animal studies that have shown association with reproductive and developmental health problems, such as:

1. early onset puberty
2. interfering with the male reproductive tract development
3. lower sperm counts, and...
4. interfering with the hormone system

Potential Risk to Women

More research needs to be conducted on this risk, however, phthalates are known as weak endocrine disrupters, and can mimic or block female hormones and they do cross the placenta.  

Helpful Tips:

If you wish to start using only phthalate-free fragrances or products look for:

1. Phthalate-Free wording.
2. Call the company and ask questions.
3. Look for Symbols, like pictured below.

Final Thoughts!

We hope this article has given you some resources and information to make your own determinations about using products that have phthalates. Please share any additional information you may have found and we would be happy to take a look at it and add it to our blog if we find it credible and helpful to our community!


- https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-ingredients/phthalates

- https://lamav.com/blogs/articles/are-phthalates-in-cosmetics-putting-you-at-risk


- https://journals.lww.com/epidem/Citation/2016/11000/Urinary_Concentrations_of_Phthalate_Metabolites.15.aspx

- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27649471/

- https://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/phthalatesc

- https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/supported/assets/docs/j_q/phthalates_the_everywhere_chemical_handout_508.pdf

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