Hidden Chemicals: DBP – Dibutyl Phthalate

Are Colourful Nails Worth The Risk?


DBP (dibutyl phthalate) is mainly used in nail products as a dye solvent, and as a plasticizer that prevents nail polish from becoming brittle. Dibutyl phthalate is used as well to help make plastics soft and flexible. It is used in shower curtains, raincoats, food wraps, bowls, car interiors, vinyl fabrics, floor tiles, and other products.

Dibutyl phthalate is used in making flexible plastics that are found in a variety of consumer products. It appears to have relatively low acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) toxicity. No information is available regarding the effects in humans from inhalation or oral exposure to dibutyl phthalate, and only minimal effects have been noted in animals exposed by inhalation. No studies are available on the reproductive, developmental, or carcinogenic effects of dibutyl phthalate in humans. Animal studies have reported developmental and reproductive effects from oral exposure. EPA has classified dibutyl phthalate as a Group D, not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity.

The largest source of exposure to dibutyl phthalate is from food, possibly fish and seafood; levels in fish ranged from 78 to 200 parts per billion 


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DBP, phthalate, dibutyl phthalate


Developmental and Reproductive Defects:  Studies suggest that DBP can cause changes in testes and prostate, reduced sperm count (1).

Endocrine Disruptor: The European Union classifies DBP as a possible endocrine disruptor as evidence suggest that it interferes with hormone function.

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