BBP Recommended for Enlistment in Australia’s Poisons Standard

On July 7, the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) of the Australian Government Department of Health recommended that butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) be considered for listing in Schedule 10/Appendix C of the Poisons Standard to regulate the possible sale, supply, or use of BBP in cosmetics (NICNAS report). On March 7, 2006, NICNAS declared BBP a Priority Existing Chemical (PEC) for public health risk assessment due to its presence in consumer products; concerns regarding its potential to cause severe and irreversible adverse reproductive and developmental health effects; and overseas regulatory restrictions regarding the use of phthalates, including BBP, in specific consumer products. The PEC program seeks to determine the health risks to adults and children from repeated or prolonged exposure to BBP in children's toys, childcare articles, and consumer products like cosmetics.
NICNAS's evaluation of BBP indicated that it is anti-androgenic, like other phthalates, and capable of causing adverse reproductive (testicular toxicity) and developmental (reduced birth weight, embryolethality, and teratogenicity) effects at exposures "that are regarded as relevant to a human health risk assessment". However, exposures to BBP, individually or in combination with other phthalates, were estimated to provide a sufficient margin of safety. Although BBP is not currently used in cosmetics, NICNAS has recommended enlisting BBP in the Poisons Standard to prevent it from being considered as a substitute phthalate for diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), which are prohibited for use in cosmetics. As noted in the NICNAS report, this recommendation is a cautious approach to limiting and managing the risks associated with BBP exposure to the public, especially children.