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PCPC refutes phthalate and baby care claims

By Katie Bird , 05-Feb-2008

The Personal Care Products Council, formerly the CTFA, question the validity of the recent study suggesting the link between baby care products and phthalate presence in infants.

The comment made by PCPC's chief scientist John Bailey is a response to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics.



The study, led by Dr S Sathyanaryana from the University of Washington, suggested a link between the use of baby care products and the presence of phthalate metabolites MEP, MMP and MiBP in the urine of infants.



DEP the only phthalate used



The trade association has taken issue with the study on a number of points. Primarily, the council state that it is only the parent compound of MEP (DEP) that appears in baby care products.



The scientists did admit in the study that it was impossible to determine whether or not baby care products contained the parent compounds of the phthalates detected as under US law manufacturers are not required to state whether or not phthalates appear in products.



However, the results suggested the presence of MiBP and MMP's parent compounds, state the researchers - a point that the PCPC hotly deny.



"The results of this study … do not make sense because only one of the seven phthalate compounds reported is even used in baby care products. This suggests that most of the phthalates found in the urine samples came from another route of exposure, and we welcome additional study to determine the source" said Bailey.



Bailey referenced a 2006 study conducted by the FDA that found that with the exception of DEP, no other phthalates were present in the baby products tested.



The council criticizes the study for not controlling for other routes of exposure and in conclusion questions 'the validity of the alleged link between the use of baby care products and the presence of phthalates in urine'.



DEP does not pose safety risks



Furthermore, the Council references studies by a Cosmetic Ingredients Review Expert Panel and the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, both of which determine DEP to be safe.



"DEP has been extensively researched and is not linked to reproductive toxicity or endocrine disruption," said Bailey.



Although the scientists of the report admitted it was impossible to know the effect of phthalates on infants due to lack of research, they referenced a large body of animal research that supported the developmental toxicity of the compounds.



The study is not alone in criticizing the use of the chemicals in personal care products.



In December 2007 interest group EWG (Environmental Working Group) called on the Environmental Protection Agency to perform a cumulative risk assessment on the chemicals as the only way to ensure public safety.



In addition, in September of the same year the National Resources Defence Council warned consumers to avoid exposure to DEP claiming it posed a health risk to consumers.

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