Australia recommends ban on DMEP phthalates in cosmetics

By Michelle Yeomans contact

- Last updated on GMT

Australia recommends ban on DMEP phthalates in cosmetics

Related tags: Cosmetics

The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) has assessed the health risks of DMEP, particularly from repeated or prolonged exposure, from its use in cosmetics and recommended a ban.

Di(methoxyethyl) phthalate (DMEP)—also known as 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid, bis(2-methoxyethyl)ester is a phthalate. It is neither manufactured in Australia nor imported as a raw material but is introduced into the country in finished products or articles.

According to NICNAS, while there is no current indication of cosmetic use of this substance in Australia, based on its properties, functions and uses, it may be considered as a possible substitute for other phthalates of concern (such as DBP) in the future.

Therefore, the Agency says there is potential for exposure to the substance, (which is currently low), to increase. 

"Possible substitution of hazardous phthalates with DMEP should be prevented by imposing similar regulatory measures on all phthalates classified as toxic to reproduction (e.g. DBP and DEHP)."

Recommending a ban following findings.. 

Based on its' assessment findings, NICNAS is recommending that DMEP be considered for listing in Appendix C of the Poisons Standard (Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP))​ to limit the potential exposure of the public, including young children, to DMEP from possible use in cosmetics.

Phthalates are a large class of compounds, some of which are found in cosmetic products such as fragrances, hairspray and nail varnishes and serve to either hold colour or as scents.

However, over the years they have been bought into question over speculation that they can effect fertility in both men and women because they are thought to be endocrine disruptors, which some suggest is part of the reason for a decline in fertility rates in developed regions.

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