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Health & Wellness
Phthalates

By Iris Grossman, Communications Director, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies

A lot has been said in the blogosphere and elsewhere about a recent study on the presence of phthalates in consumer products, and talking to Marc and Bill, I asked if I could be a guest on JNJBTW to share what the Johnson & Johnson company I work for knows about phthalates. So here goes...

Phthalates are a large family of compounds used in a wide variety of everyday products. However, the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies use only one of the many phthalates -- diethylphthalate (DEP) - in some of their personal care products as a component of fragrances used in some products.

DEP has been extensively researched and is not linked to reproductive toxicity or endocrine disruption. For instance, both the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel, an independent, nonprofit panel of scientists and physicians who assess the safety of personal care product ingredients in the U.S., and the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP), the body that advises the European Union Commission on safety matters related to cosmetics, have determined DEP to be safe as used.

After reviewing the study that was recently published in the Journal Pediatrics, the medical experts at the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies also had some concerns about its design. The study references the presence of seven phthalate compounds, yet only DEP is used in any baby care products. This suggests that most of the phthalates found in the urine samples came from another route of exposure. The Personal Care Products Council also had similar concerns, which they highlighted in a statement yesterday:

Unfortunately, the researchers of this study did not test baby care products for the presence of phthalates or control for other possible routes of exposure. A 2006 study conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that with the exception of DEP, no other phthalates were present in the baby product tested. For this reason, we question the validity of the alleged link between the use of baby personal care products and the presence of phthalates in infants.