Phthalates in candles and melts?
**It is important to know that the only chemical in the phthalate family used in fragrances is diethyl phthalate (commonly called DEP).
QUESTION: Is burning the diethyl phthalate in wax different than using them in melts?
Yes. DEP has a very low vapor pressure therefore it does not easily evaporate from the wax into the air. In a wax melt, limited amounts of DEP are likely to be given off unless the wax is very hot. Most fragrance ingredients have higher vapor pressures and evaporate more readily. This reduces the exposure to DEP.
In candles, limited amounts of DEP would likely evaporate from the liquid wax pool. It is expected that most of the DEP would be carried up in the wick along with the liquid wax fuel and be combusted in the flame, destroying the DEP converting it into carbon dioxide and water.
MORE INFO on phthalates:
Phthalates are a family of chemicals. There are many phthalates. Most phthalates have undergone extensive toxicological testing. A few have been shown to cause cancer and reproductive effects. Not all phthalates cause these effects. Unfortunately, due to the lack of any scientific understanding, some environmental groups have grouped all phthalates together as toxic and this is not the case.
Diethyl phthalate has been reviewed by the U.S. Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, the FDA and the European Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products (SCCNFP) among other experts.
The FDA concluded that DEP was safe for use in cosmetics based on the conclusions of the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel. In their final report the panel stated “On the basis of the available data, the Panel concludes that diethyl phthalate is safe for topical application in the present practices of use and concentration in cosmetics.”
In a very extensive review, the SCCNFP has concluded that DEP is considered to be non-toxic, and is not associated with cancer or any adverse reproductive effects when used in personal care products. They stated “the safety profile of diethyl phthalate supports its use in cosmetic products at current levels.” They go on to say, “at present, the SCCNFP does not recommend any specific warnings or restrictions under the currently proposed conditions of use.”
While the use pattern of DEP in cosmetics and a candle or wax melt may differ, the conclusions are still the same. The International Fragrance Association and the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (the recognized world authorities on fragrance safety) have reviewed the use of diethyl phthalate in candles and air fresheners and determined that it is safe.
Based on several regulatory authorities and international panels of safety experts, it has been determined that DEP is safe when used as a fragrance ingredient for use in candles and air care products.
More information on the studies here: https://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/consumer_safety/sccnfp_en