What are phthalates?
Phthalates are a family of industrial chemicals used in cosmetics, fragrances and other consumer goods. Phthalates are used in products as a binding agent, ensuring that cosmetics, for example, won’t separate as easily and the ingredients will stay dispersed throughout the product during its shelf life.
What are parabens?
Parabens are classed as a preservative and are found in a lot of cosmetic products. They are added into products to increase their shelf life and to prevent any mould or bacteria from forming. You will find parabens in many cosmetic products such as shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, deodorant, make-up and fragrances. They’re also sometimes included in food items such as fizzy drinks, processed meats and sauces among others.
Are phthalates and parabens dangerous?
Negative health impacts are associated with both phthalates and parabens and in recent years, this has meant that a huge number of brands have opted for more natural products, especially within the cosmetics sector. Academic studies have voiced concerns over the effects that phthalates and parabens have on human health. Both have been linked to the likes of asthma, ADHD, breast cancer, behavioural issues and reproductive issues.
Why are they used in candles?
Phthalates and parabens are used in some candles for the same reason they are used in cosmetics – for binding and shelf life purposes. They are also sometimes found in the fragrance oils used to scent the candle. A scent library can often be complex and phthalates might be added to the fragrance to bind everything together. A lot of sustainable candle brands use either ethically sourced essential fragrance oils or a mix of phthalate-free fragrances and essential oils.
For our natural soy and rapeseed hand-poured candles, we use a mixture of essential oils and phthalate-free fragrances to create unique scents. It’s always been important to us to create non-toxic candles with natural ingredients that smell good and are safe to use in any home.
How to identify phthalate’s or parabens:
Parabens are easy to identify on the ingredients section of any product – the word will end in ‘paraben’ and there might be more than one in the ingredients of a single product. Phthalates on the other hand, are much harder to identify. In some cases, it’s almost impossible to identify a phthalate as an ingredient because they don’t need to be listed by law on an ingredient list. Occasionally, phthalates may be added as part of the product ‘fragrance’ and therefore will simply be noted as ‘fragrance’. The only way to be 100% sure that your item contains no phthalates is by choosing a brand that promises that they are 100% phthalate-free.