ARTIFICIAL FRAGRANCE AND PHTHALATES
This first one is pretty important to look for and involves some tricky marketing. Companies can get away with including a lot of chemicals, masked under the vague term “fragrances/artificial fragrances.” A chemical that is often found in these artificial fragrances is phthalates – an endocrine disruptor. They are “widespread chemicals found in cleaning agents, beauty products, plastics, laundry detergents, and more. In many lotions, for instance, phthalates are used to increase absorption into the skin, meaning they dissolve directly into the body. They’re also used in pesticides to help chemicals attach to plants” (Source One).
In 2016, some scientists out of the Department of Environmental Chemistry in Poland conducted a thorough study on phthalates and their impact on living organisms. It’s a dense read, but at the core is a specific phthalate: Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP). “This most popular plasticizer is added to construction materials, consumer goods (rainwear, food packaging, toys), plastics and disposable medical materials . . . phthalates are ubiquitous in the environment. . . . DEHP is characterized by high levels of reproductive toxicity, and it can have harmful effects on fertility and may damage the unborn child” (Source 2). They go on to list other phthalates that also cause reproductive problems in males.
YIKES! The point is that before you buy your next scented candle, maybe check the label for phthalates. Even if you can’t find anything expressly labeled, steer clear from ingredients like “fragrance,” “artificial fragrance,” or “parfum.” There’s all kinds of dangerous chemicals hiding under those umbrella terms.