By: Christine Hines
Phthalates are a family of chemicals known as “plasticizers” that are used in consumer and pharmaceutical products. For example, they are used to soften plastics – like those used in products such as baby teething rings and pacifiers. These chemicals, including dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), have been linked to cancer, as well as developmental and reproductive defects.
Phthalates are being phased out of consumer products – a 2008 federal law banned these phthalates in children’s products. The European Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency also have noted the health risks of the chemicals. The EPA said it is concerned about phthalates because of “their toxicity and the evidence of pervasive human and environmental exposure to these chemicals.”
The organizations’ letter to the FDA was a response to the FDA’s draft guidance to industry, which recommended that the pharmaceutical industry avoid the use of dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in their drug and biologic products.
While the draft guidance was a step in the right direction, the FDA should go further, especially since safer alternatives are available, the organizations said in the letter.