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Migration of phthalates from soft PVC packaging into shower and bath gels and assessment of consumer risk

Phthalates are used as plasticizers in many commodities and materials. Therefore, they are found everywhere as contaminants in food and in environmental samples. Due to their potential for developmental and reproductive toxicity, some congeners pose a health risk for consumers and their use is legally restricted with bans and limits. This, however, applies only partly to their usage in cosmetics, toys and packaging materials. Phthalates used as plasticizers in cosmetic packaging could be a previously unknown source of exposure for consumers. In market surveys of the state laboratory of Basel-City, conspicuously high levels of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and di-iso-nonyl phthalate (DINP) were found in shower and bath gels packed in soft PVC shaped as animals or fruits. The concentrations found ranged from 0.02 to 1.3%. It could be shown that concentrations increased significantly during storage. It can therefore be assumed that the phthalates found migrated from the packaging into the gels. The estimated exposure of adults and children to DEHP and DINP of 3.5 and 4.6 μg/kg bw/day, respectively, which may result when using the tested gels does not pose a health risk for the consumer (exposure value below TDI). Regarding the high background contamination levels with phthalates in other sources, exposure from cosmetics should be kept as low as possible. The establishment of limits for phthalates in cosmetics is discussed.

Authors:   Judith P. Amberg-Müller, Urs Hauri, Urs Schlegel, Christopher Hohl, Beat J. Brüschweiler
Journal:   Journal für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit
Year:   2010
DOI:   10.1007/s00003-010-0620-0
Publication date:   21-Jun-2010
Facts, background information, dossiers
  • plasticizers
  • ISO
  • food
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