News Room

Statement by Linda Loretz, PhD, Director, Safety and Regulatory Toxicology Personal Care Products Council on the Brigham and Women's Hospital Study on Phthalates and Diabetes

July 18, 2012

Contact: Lisa Powers, (202) 466-0489 or Maiya Dacey, (202) 454-0316 

A recent study conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) found no causal link between the use of phthalates in personal care products and diabetes.  The study examined a possible association between diabetes and levels of certain phthalates in women.

“Diethyl Phthalate, also known as DEP, is the only phthalate with significant use in cosmetics. The BWH study found no association between DEP and diabetes in any of the four models used by the study’s authors.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluated biomonitoring and toxicity data and concluded, “…FDA does not have compelling evidence that phthalates, as used in cosmetics, pose a safety risk.”   Moreover, DEP has been reviewed by other scientific authorities, including the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel in the U.S. and the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) in the EU, and found to be safe for use in cosmetics.  DEP is allowed for use throughout the world.

“The lead researcher of the BWH study, Dr. Tamarra James-Todd, noted that “phthalates also exist in certain types of medical devices and medication that is used to treat diabetes and this could also explain the higher level of phthalates in diabetic women. So overall, more research is needed.”

“Personal care products remain one of the safest categories of products regulated by the FDA.  All cosmetic manufacturers are required by law to substantiate the safety of their products and the ingredients used in them before they are marketed.  The industry takes its responsibility for safety very seriously.  Consumers can continue to use the personal care products that they have trusted and relied on for many years.”


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Based in Washington, D.C., the Personal Care Products Council is the leading national trade association representing the global cosmetic and personal care products industry. Founded in 1894, the Council's more than 600 member companies manufacture, distribute, and supply the vast majority of finished personal care products marketed in the U.S. As the makers of a diverse range of products millions of consumers rely on every day, from sunscreens, toothpaste and shampoo to moisturizer, lipstick and fragrance, personal care products companies are global leaders committed to product safety, quality and innovation.