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SC Johnson Point of View on Phthalates

Since summer 2008, SC Johnson has been working with suppliers, requiring them to phase out phthalates from fragrances they supply for its products. Following is information about this bold step.

What is a Phthalate?

Phthalates are a large group of industrial chemicals used for multiple purposes, for example some are solvents and others are used to make products, such as plastics, more flexible or resilient. In recent years, some phthalate substances have been hotly debated, and in those debates broad statements about phthalates have led to confusion and concerns about the entire group of chemicals. Despite some individual substances being deemed safe, the debate has cast a shadow over all phthalates.

The phthalate DEP is used in fragrance manufacturing to help fragrances last longer. It is the only phthalate that was used in the fragrances in SC Johnson home cleaning and air care products. It has been extensively researched and has been deemed safe for years by various scientific bodies.

How Much is in Fragrances?

Fragrances can be made without phthalates – SC Johnson is now making new and reformulated products with beautiful fragrances that do not have phthalates added to them. However, prior to that decision, the fragrances SC Johnson sourced contained a small amount of DEP. Fragrance is usually less than 1 percent of a finished product. A phthalate, if used, is a small percentage of the fragrance. As a result, if a phthalate is used in a fragrance, it would usually only appear as a small trace amount of the total product makeup.

Why is SC Johnson Phasing out Phthalates?

The priority is to make sure consumers know they can trust SC Johnson products. Despite the soundness of the chemistry related to DEP, growing consumer concern about the larger class of substances in the phthalate family led SC Johnson to work with its suppliers to begin phasing out DEP from the fragrances supplied to SC Johnson. This step is further evidence of SC Johnson’s commitment to go beyond regulatory requirements in its product development. Other examples included voluntarily eliminating CFCs in 1975 – three years before the U.S. government mandate – and discontinuing the use of PVC in its packaging in 2002.

When Will the Change Occur?

As of summer 2008, SC Johnson suppliers stopped using DEP in the fragrances they supply for SC Johnson new products and reformulations. The company is requiring suppliers to phase out DEP from all SC Johnson fragrance formulas over the next two years, and expects to be out of phthalates completely within the timeframe of this plan.

Learn more about SC Johnson, its products and ingredients at our new ingredient communication web site: