You’d think that the formaldehyde in Sunsilk brouhaha would have abated by now but emotions still run high.
I had to turn off commenting in the Sunsilk-Formaldehyde entry because, for three straight days, the supporters of Unilever had been posting official statements in the comment box. I would have allowed it had Unilever included results from an independent study saying formaldehyde, as used in consumer products, will never be a health hazard even in accumulated amounts. But, no — the statement was just a pinpointing exercise saying so many other products contain formaldehyde too. Well, crap, then they should come under the microscope too instead of merely serving as an excuse for Unilever as though the use of formaldehyde in other products validates Unilver’s stand. Excuse me but my blog is not a mouthpiece for Unilever.
Anyway, there’s a new issue now — another tongue-twister. If it took some time to get comfortable mouthing the word formaldehyde, I wonder how much longer it will take to get used to the spelling of a chemical called phthalates. Its effect on humans is worse than its spelling and it seems to be a popular ingredient among air fresheners.
But just how “fresh” is air freshener? A study released last week by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) evaluated 14 air fresheners off the shelf of a local Walgreens and found that 12 contained variable amounts of substances called phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates), a group of chemicals that are used to dissolve and carry fragrances, soften plastics and also as sealants and adhesives. Phthalates are commonly found in a variety of products, including cosmetics, paints, nail polish and children’s toys — and have long been at the center of a larger international controversy over their health effects.
Studies involving rat and human subjects have suggested that high exposures to certain kinds of phthalates can cause cancer, developmental and sex-hormone abnormalities (including decreased testosterone and sperm levels and malformed sex organs) in infants, and can affect fertility… [Time]
The article says that the USFDA does not require the labeling of phthalate content in products but “In 2004, the European Union banned two types of phthalates in cosmetics and also bans the chemical in children’s toys, as do 14 other countries.”
And, in case you’re wondering, phthalates is pronounced as THAL-ates.