Know Your Ingredients: Dibutyl Phthalate

Dibutyl Phthalate

What it is
Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) is a colorless and oily liquid made by reacting phthalic acid with butyl alcohol.

What it does
Dibutyl Phthalate is used in nail polishes as a plasticizer: it softens synthetic polimers by diminishing cracking and brittleness.
The ingredient also acts as a solvent to keep the ingredients dissolved and dispersed in cosmetics products and esp fragrances.
In addition Dibutyl Phthalate is a denaturant: it gives ethyl alcohol a bitter taste so that it can’t be drunk.

Side effects
Dibutyl Phthalate can cause allergic reactions.
In addition, it is suspected to be a hormone disruptor. Studies have shown that in animals it causes birth defects and, in males, lifelong reproductive impairment. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) board and the Cosmetics, Toiletries and Fragrance Association (CTFA) deem the ingredient safe for use in cosmetics saying the concentrations of Dibutyl Phthalate are too small to be harmful to human health. However, no study has been conducted on the effects of Dibutyl Phthalate on human reproduction so we don’t know if the ingredient has detrimental effects on humans as well. For this reason, this ingredients has been banned in the EU and many manufacturers have stopped using it.

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