Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is a member of the group of chemicals commonly known as phthalates, used worldwide as solvents (to dissolve other substances) and plasticisers (to make other substances softer or more pliable).
However, over the years they have been brought 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.
There are currently no restrictions on the manufacture, import or use of DBP in Australia.
Pushing for early implementation...
In preparing its assessment of the substance, the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) found no reports of the phthalate being manufactured as a raw material in Australia; however it is imported into the country mainly as a component of finished products or mixtures and also as a raw material for local formulation and processing.
Thus, the authority is now seeking an early implementation date.
"There is a potential for introduction and widespread use of cosmetic products containing the substance,” said the body, on expressing its concern in a statement.
The Department of Health adds that the inclusion of DBP in Appendix C of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Poisons (SUSMP or Poisons List) is the most effective way to prevent its use in cosmetics and is consistent with the listing of other phthalate esters with similar reproductive toxicity potential in Appendix C.
The DoH also made a series of interim decisions on other chemical substances to amend the Poisons Schedule. Comments on the interim decisions were open until 11 July.
Click here for a full view of what other substances the decision covers.