Citrus oil threat

Among the ingredients that would be forbidden in personal care products in the event the Colorado bill passes are di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and 5-methoxypsoralen. DEHP is listed by the National Toxicology Program as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”. Well, who wants phthalates in their products anyway?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but cold-pressed citrus oils like bergamot contain about 1 ppm of DEHP, because it leaches out of plastic tubing used in the extraction process. One part per million in a citrus oil isn’t much, and once that oil is incorporated into a product, the 1 ppm turns into less than 10 ppb. But, here’s the problem – zero tolerance on DEHP (as is being proposed in Colorado) would mean no more cold-pressed citrus oils in any personal care products.

MandarinBergapten (5-methoxypsoralen) is also found in citrus peel and cold-pressed citrus oils. It is listed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. What they forgot to add was “but only in the presence of UVA”. So, if you have bergapten in a sun cream or other leave-on product, there might be a problem, but not in a shampoo or shower product.

This is why the International Fragrance Association has set a limit of 15 ppm for bergapten, but only in leave-on products. Don’t allow the state of Colorado to ban citrus oils out of hand! Go to Facebook page here. (Safe cold-pressed citrus oil use for leave-on products: bergamot 0.4%, lime 0.7%, orange 1.25%, lemon 2.0%, grapefruit 4.0%).

6 comments to Citrus oil threat

  • To those of you who do natural perfuming, I can only imagine how this would affect your ability to make some of my favorite fragrances. What about the big fragrance houses – are they going to be able to use these in their perfumes? That would technically be considered a “leave-on” product? I love each and every one of these fragrances and especially in the spring and summer. I know you and Tony (Cropwatch) have addressed this long before Colorado started their nonsense.

    Thanks Robert for the post.

    Ann @ Wingsets

  • I simply have no words for the amount of idiocy. I went to the websites, and I have to agree, they offer no research or detailed information. If left up to them we won’t be able to use anything at all.

  • Thanks for this Robert. I’ll borrow some of your points for the statement I hope to make for the Judiciary committee.

  • janna

    Are they going to ban plastic containers that leach toxic bpa’s? Plastic water bottles,soda bottles,these are far worse because we ingest them. And what about parabens?

  • robert

    Good point Janna, and it’s a headache for manufacturers of natural/organic products – how do you get around the problems of plastic containers? There has been some progress in the food and drink trade, but not too much in personal care containers. There are the environmental issues, and also the simple fact that some phthalates probably do leach into some products, since phthalates are used to make plastics pliable. Not all plastics, but most.

  • why don’t they just replace the plastic tubing with something else. hemp based materials are safe, no petroleum and last longer too.

    i would never use plastics in the manufacture of anything that would be used for bodycare/ingestion, especially if there is heat involved.

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