A Radio France Inter interview with the toxicologist André Cicorella raises new debate on the subject…


Or, more precisely, its esters. The chemical properties and toxicity of a phthalate will depends essentially on the nature and length of its esterified carbon chain.

The longer and more substituted it is the more its lipophilicity increases and consequently bio-accumulation, notably in fatty tissue, is also increased. What’s more, these molecules present a carcinogenic or even endocrine disrupting activity.

Consequently certain “long” chain phthalates are considered to be dangerous and are therefore banned by current European cosmetics industry legislation.


Other than the DEP used to denature alcohol, cosmetic formulae do not contain phthalates.

Therefore the only possible sources are the plastic materials that come into contact with the formula:

– Packaging (jars, bottles, dispenser tubes, etc.)

– Piping, hoses and other elements used for production/storage/packaging.

In recent years major efforts have been made in the industry to try to reduce the impact.

CONCENTRATE your research

Most phthalates are lipophilic. Chemical solvents such as alcohol, isopropanol, isododecane, ethyl acetate, silicones, highly fatty phases, etc. will enhance the solubilisation of these substances.

Any cosmetic formulae which contain them should therefore be prioritised in your phthalate research.

DANGEROUS, phthalates ?


Risks? Not necessarily!

When dealing with potentially dangerous substances, we need to know their exact concentration levels in the formulae such that toxicologists can fully evaluate any genuine associated risks. GC – MS determination will surely help in this.

Escape from excessive alarmism

It is always very important to remember and repeat the basics: Cosmetics industry legislation requirements, including the advance selection of ingredients, protect consumers from the potential toxic effects that may be caused by the presence of phthalates in a finished product by banning a large number of them (see 2009/1223/EC Appendix II). Meeting this legislation must involve testing to ensure that these phthalates are absent

Favour genuine potential solutions

When you think about phthalates, think of migration. It is more “pertinent” to measure the phthalates present in the finished Product rather than in the packaging. For it to make sense, a Content Container interaction survey MUST include phthalate determination procedures.


ZOOM in on your sample libraries ! 

The quality of plastics used 2 or 3 years ago is far less than that used today. Additionally, contact time can increase the probability of the migration of these substances into the formulae. Consequently, if any old samples do not contain any, it is therefore even less likely that new productions from the same sources will be concerned.

Analytec evaluates the concentrations of phthalates in cosmetic products every week.

Test your products, Try us out !


Contacts : Jean-Louis FIACRE et Simon CATROUX
Tél. : +33 2 40 68 50 50 – www.cosmepar.fr

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