According to a recent release from The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has made a commitment to eliminate the chemicals triclosan and diethyl phthalate (DEP) from all its cosmetics, household cleaners, and fragranced products by 2014. P&G is the world’s largest manufacturer of consumer products, and houses iconic brands such as Cover Girl, Tide, Crest, and Ivory.
When reached for comment by email, a P&G Senior Science Fellow Scott Heid noted that "Several years ago we made a strategic choice to exit the use of these two ingredients for a couple of reasons, including feedback from some of the people who use our products, and continued improvements in product performance. We expect to eliminate use by 2014."
According to P&G's website, “DEP has been thoroughly studied and found to be safe. But we understand that DEP can get mistakenly linked to other phthalates in the public discussion because of its name. So we have been working [...] to eliminate DEP from the fragrances used in our products. We are 70% of the way there....”
P&G's reason for is eliminating triclosan due to the outstanding questions about its efficacy in reducing bacteria over regular soap and water. The FDA is reviewing triclosan for safety due to scientific studies that show triclosan contributes to antibacterial resistance. In response to consumer concerns, J&J also pledged to remove triclosan from its products by 2015.
Consumer groups have spoken out about these chemicals for years, petitioning P&G and other personal care manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson (J&J), who took similar action to remove potentially dangerous chemicals from their products in 2012, and Unilever, who continues to use the compounds. Advocates claim that DEP is linked to health concerns including cancer, birth defects, and infertility.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has been urging companies to eliminate phthalates from personal care products since 2002. The organization released a study that year entitled “Not Too Pretty,” which tested 72 personal care products and found 72 percent contained multiple phthalates, which were linked to birth defects, asthma, early puberty, and decreased sperm count.
“The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics congratulates P&G for taking bold and globally-significant action to protect the health of its 4.8 billion consumers by eliminating two dangerous toxic chemicals—triclosan and DEP—from all its products,” said Janet Nudelman, program director at the Breast Cancer Fund and co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
Sources: Proctor & Gamble and The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.