What are Phthalates?

Items made with Phthalates

Phthalates are a diverse group of materials that make plastics more flexible and are used in a wide variety of products—from building materials, to medical devices, to sporting equipment.

Certain phthalates can take a longer time to evaporate so when used in very small amounts in fragrances they can make the scent last longer. P&G only used one phthalate, diethyl phthalate (DEP), in our formulated products. It was present only at very low levels as a component in some of our products’ fragrances.

Being safe

The phthalate (DEP) that was used in a small number of our product fragrances is safe. Though you may have heard phthalates as a whole have safety questions, each phthalate is different, much like there are safe and unsafe types of mushrooms. We comply with all phthalate bans globally, including those in the European Union and those pertaining to children’s toys.

DEP has been reviewed by regulatory agencies, and is permitted for use in a wide variety of products around the world.

Monitoring studies have show DEP amounts from all product sources to be well within established safe ranges, and it is easily broken down and eliminated.

Feeling safe

DEP has been thoroughly studied and found to be safe. But we understand that DEP can get mistakenly linked to other phthalates in the public discussion because of its name. So we have been working for several years to eliminate DEP from the fragrances used in our products. We have eliminated DEP from more than 99% of our product fragrances globally and we have an exit plan for the few remaining uses.

Some of you have asked about our plastics. The plastics we use for our products and packaging abide by all phthalate bans globally. Even though these bans do allow a very low, trace amount from the manufacturing process, the vast majority of our plastics contain no detectable phthalates. We obtain our plastics from outside sources, so we continually monitor and avoid any potential traces where possible.