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Procter & Gamble adjusting product ingredients amid concerns

Phasing out triclosan and diethyl phthalate

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CINCINNATI -- After public pressure and growing concerns from advocacy groups, Procter & Gamble (P&G) is eliminating two chemicals from its beauty products by 2014.

P&G announced the phasing out of the chemicals triclosan and diethyl phthalate from its cosmetic and personal care brands as part of a years-long effort, according to P&G spokesman Paul Fox.

P&G is the world’s largest manufacturer of consumer products and is home to brands like Cover Girl, Tide, Crest and Ivory.

According to P&G’s website, triclosan is a chemical that slows or stops the growth of germs like bacteria and mildew. It is currently used in a wide variety of products -- from hand soaps, to medical devices, to footwear, caulk and carpet.

Diethyl Phthalates (DEP) are chemicals that make plastics more flexible and are used in products like building materials, medical devices and sporting equipment.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, an advocacy group, congratulated P&G for its decision to phase out the ingredients in a statement following the company’s announcement.

“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,” Campaign for Safe Cosmetics co-founder Janet Nudelman said in a release.

Nudelman said she hopes other cosmetic industry giants like Avon, Estee Lauder, Revlon, L’Oreal and Unilever will follow P&G in its decision and eliminate the chemicals.

P&G said on its website it has been “working for several years to eliminate DEP from the fragrances used in our products” and is “70% of the way there and will be finished by 2014.”

P&G’s website also states the company maintains DEP and triclosan are safe despite public concern.

“Although triclosan is known to be safe through numerous studies and regulatory reviews, there are ongoing discussions about how effective it is for reducing bacteria compared to regular soap. Due to our limited use of the ingredient, we have decided to eliminate triclosan from our products by 2014,” P&G wrote on its site. “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.”

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