Why we’re taking a stand against phthalates in Canada

If you’re familiar with The Never List™, you’ll know we never formulate our products with phthalates. (Scientific research shows these chemicals are linked to endocrine disruption and birth defects.) So when we learned the Canadian government recently deemed these chemicals safe for human exposure—despite much evidence to the contrary—we decided to take action.

Photo: Shutterstock

How? Last month, we submitted a letter to Canadian officials asking them to reconsider this assessment of phthalates. While the country has determined that most phthalates shouldn’t be restricted, there is plenty of data that suggests the ingredients may, in fact, have serious consequences.

For instance, the EU has declared four of the phthalates in Canada’s assessment to be substances of “high concern.” Several US states—including California and Washington—have also labeled these chemicals as hazardous.

In addition to the health risks mentioned previously, phthalate exposure has also been tied to reproductive harm, increased risk of cancer, and increased risk of obesity and insulin resistance.

What makes this assessment especially worrying is that phthalates are extremely widespread. They’re common plasticizers found in beauty and baby care products, food, toys, floor and wall coverings, and pharmaceuticals. Children are especially vulnerable, given that their bodies are still developing and they have higher object-to-mouth contact than adults.

With all this evidence, it’s clear that the Canadian government’s decision on phthalate safety deserves a closer look. Beautycounter urges the nation’s officials to take action against chemicals known to be harmful to human health—including phthalates—as part of the upcoming reform of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).