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Diethyl Phthalate in Magical Oils

To: alt.lucky.w,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic,alt.occult.methods,alt.magick,alt.magick.tyagi
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Diethyl Phthalate in Magical "Oils"
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2003 00:25:43 GMT

I am reprinting a March 4, 2003 Newsday article here in usenet because
it will expire from the Newsday online cache at some time, and i wish
it to be archived on a more permanent basis. It raises important
health concerns for the occult, witchcraft, neo-pagan, hermetic,
magical, hoodoo, spiritual, and religious communities -- concerns that
center around the safety of a little known "oily" feeling chemical
called diethyl phthalate (DEP). 

At the time of this writing (March, 2003) many of the mass-produced
and  commercial occult, magical, hermetic, witchcraft, religious, and
spiritual oils such as Love Oil, Abramelin Oil, Venus Oil, Holy Oil,
and so forth -- which are used daily by practitioners in a number of
magical and spiritual traditions, are really not oil-based, but are
made with diethyl phthalate. In particular, all of the anointing or
dressing oils from International Imports -- including the brand names
Indio, Anna Riva, Seven Sisters of New Orleans, Dr. Pryor's, and Arjax
-- contain diethyl phthalate and no natural oils. 

The reasons for this are two-fold: First, diethyl phthalate is an
artificial chemical, so it is not subject to rancidity the way natural
oils such as almond oil or olive oil are. Thus a diethyl phthalate
based "oil" will have a very long shellfire. Second, because diethyl
phthalate acts as a more efficient "spreader" than natural oils, it is
a more economical carrier for essential oils (natural or artificial)
than a natural oil would be. With diethyl phthalate, a manufacturer
can use less scent per ounce of finished product, saving money. 

Diethyl phthalate is not a historical ingredient in any classical,
medieval, renaissance, or modern recipe for anointing oil, holy oil,
spiritual oil, or dressing oil. The use of diethyl phthalate in
industrial chemical compounds dates back only to the 1950s. Its use as
a carrier or base in magical, religious, and witchcraft oils began in
the 1970s, and has steadily increased as larger companies like
International Imports have purchased smaller down-home occult oil
manufacturers and changed their formulas from a natural oil base to a
diethyl phthalate base. 

Smaller manufacturers of occult oils, especially those with a
commitment to traditional magical practices and techniques, such as
Ancient Ways, Panpipes, and Lucky Mojo, do not use diethyl phthalate
as a carrier. Typically their oil bases are natural -- usually a
vegetable oil such as almond or olive, or, in formulas that are
mineral based, mineral oil.

If the magical, spiritual, religious, or witchcraft oils you buy seem
"thin" or have a "chemical" scent, it is likely that they are diethyl
phthalate based. Some manufacturers also use diethyl phthalate in
their so-called "waters" and "vinegars." For instance, any brand of
Four Thieves Vinegar (an old Italian formula dating to the 1600s that
is used for protection, to prevent disease, and to overcome enemies)
that says "not for human consumption" on the label should raise a red
flag; it is a pretty good guess that the vinegar portion of the recipe
has been replaced with diethyl phthalate. 

Diethyl phthalate will not always be mentioned on the label of occult
and religious supplies, but it often is. If you are unsure, call the
manufacturer and ask what bases or carriers they use for their
spiritual oils. If the person answering the phone doesn't know, ask to
speak to someone in the manufacturing department.

Let the buyer beware. 

-- cat yronwode

------------- BEGIN REPRINT -------------

New Questions About Common Chemicals
Environmental and health groups are pushing to restrict the use of
phthalates - compounds used in cosmetics, toys and medical devices

By David Kohn
David Kohn is a freelance writer.

March 4, 2003

They have become ubiquitous: a group of little-known
chemicals used in everything from nail polish to skin
moisturizers to toys to shower curtains to time-release
capsules to vinyl flooring. They soften plastic and dissolve
fragrance into perfume. They are the new car smell in new
cars.

But are they safe? Some researchers say there is evidence
that the chemicals can cause birth defects and damage the
male reproductive system. Several environmental and health
groups are pushing to restrict the compounds' use in
cosmetics, toys and medical devices.

The chemicals in question are a family of versatile
substances known as phthalates, widely used for the past 50
years. U.S. manufacturers produce around a billion pounds a
year.

"Rubber boots, swimming pool liners, traffic cones,
insulation on electrical wiring - anything you see that's
plastic, it's likely that it contains phthalates. They're
everywhere," says Mike Shelby, director of the Center for
the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction at the
National Institute of Environmental Health Services. The
Center has spent the past 18 months studying phthalate
risks.

Scientists have long known that relatively large doses of
some phthalates (pronounced "tha-lates") can lead to health
problems, including cancer. But researchers have begun to
suspect that lower levels may also have negative effects.
And new research suggests that humans are being exposed to
higher levels of phthalates than previously realized.

"This is on everybody's radar now," says Boston University
environmental epidemiologist Richard Clapp. "We may not have
seen the fire yet, but there's an awful lot of smoke."

According to toxicologist Paul Foster of the National
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, researchers are
finding that smaller doses than previously realized can
cause harm. His recent work on how the chemicals affect the
development of the rat reproductive system suggests that
fetuses in the first trimester are particularly vulnerable.

The lowest level that produced adverse effects in the rats
was 100 milligrams a day per kilogram of body weight. This
is about 500 times more than what a 2001 study by the
national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in
the general human population. Many toxicologists prefer the
level to be 1,000 times higher than a level that produces
adverse effects. "When you're dealing with things that cause
birth defects," Foster says, "you like to have a nice
cushion." Foster also notes that he examined only one
compound, dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Along with one other
compound, Di 2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), DBP is
considered to be the most toxic phthalate.

"I don't think anyone needs to panic," he says. "But I don't
feel really comfortable with young women who are being
exposed to two or three different phthalates."

Industry groups counter that phthalate-containing products
pose no danger to humans. "Exposure in humans is well below
levels that have shown no effects in animals," says Gerald
McEwen, vice president for science at the Cosmetic,
Toiletry, and Fragrance Association, based in Washington,
D.C. "The data shows that these [levels of] chemicals are
safe."

Most phthalate researchers say the jury is still out on
phthalate risks - particularly their threat to developing
fetuses and children.

Dozens of animal studies have shown that phthalates can
disrupt the endocrine system, inhibiting male hormones and
causing male infertility and birth defects. But animal
studies alone do not provide enough proof, says Marian
Stanley, manager of the American Chemistry Council's
Phthalate Esters Panel, which presents the industry's side
in the debate. "Nobody's been able to reliably link any
harmful effects to humans," she says.

The reason, says Shelby of the Center for the Evaluation of
Risks to Human Reproduction, is that research on humans
barely exists. "Industry says there is no human evidence,
and that's true," says Shelby. "But the absence of evidence
doesn't mean there's no effect. In this case, it means that
no one's studied it."

As concern over phthalates grows, more scientists are doing
research on humans. A study published last year in
Environmental Health Perspectives, the official journal of
the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences,
found that a group of men with DNA-damaged sperm also had
higher levels of diethyl phthalate (DEP) - regarded as one
of the less toxic phthalates. "The data suggests there may
be an association between phthalates and problems with
semen. It's intriguing," says the study's leader, Professor
Russ Hauser of the Harvard School of Public Health.

U.S. regulators have already restricted some phthalate use.
Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration
recommended that when performing procedures on male babies
and boys, as well as women pregnant with boys, hospitals
avoid using IV bags, blood bags and tubing made with DEHP.
The compound, which makes the devices pliable, can leach
from the plastic. The FDA also asked, but didn't require,
manufacturers to label DEHP-containing medical devices so
hospitals could more easily avoid them.

Much of the recent debate has focused on the chemicals'
presence in cosmetics. A 2001 study by the CDC found
widespread phthalate exposure, including higher than average
levels of some phthalates in the urine of women of
childbearing age. Some women exceeded the EPA's safety
standard, a finding that scientists say are enough of a
concern to warrant further study. A follow-up CDC study in
January reported similar results.

The phthalates found in largest quantities were DBP and DEP
, which tend to be used in cosmetics and perfumes. The EPA's
"reference dose" - an estimate of the maximum daily exposure
that is unlikely to cause adverse health effects - for DEP
and DBP is 0.1 milligram per kilogram of body weight per day
(a kilogram is 2.2 pounds). The agency, which set those
levels over a decade ago, says it is now revising them.

Researchers surmised that the elevated levels of DBP and DEP
could be caused by women's use of beauty care products.

"There's cause for concern," says researcher John Brock, who
oversaw the CDC study. "We have broad exposure to phthalates
in the population. We have animal studies that show risk. So
we really need to know where these exposures are coming
from."

In response to the finding of elevated levels in women of
childbearing age, a coalition of three environmental groups
decided last year to analyze phthalate levels in cosmetics.
They tested 72 name-brand cosmetics - everything from
shampoo to perfume to deodorant - and found phthalates in
52.

"We never found the word 'phthalate.' We read thousands of
labels," says Charlotte Brody, director of Health Care
Without Harm in Washington, D.C., one of the groups. Federal
labeling laws do not require phthalates to appear on
ingredient lists of many cosmetics and other products; they
are usually part of the "fragrance," which is considered a
trade secret, and so may be omitted from labels.

"Millions of women are being exposed to multiple
phthalates," says Jane Houlihan, director of research at the
Environmental Working Group, another coalition partner. "And
they have no way of even knowing what products contain
phthalates."

Pediatrician Lynn Goldman, for one, would like to know. Her
6-year-old daughter loves nail polish, and also bites her
nails.

"I have no idea what is in those products," says Goldman, a
professor of environmental health at Johns Hopkins
University and former Environmental Protection Agency
official who was in charge of regulating toxic chemicals
during the Clinton administration.

Hair and nail salon workers "are breathing nail lacquers and
hair sprays day in and day out," she said.

But the FDA says phthalate-containing beauty products are
safe. In November, the Cosmetics Ingredient Review panel
(CIR), an industry-funded safety panel that advises the FDA,
reviewed existing scientific data and found that phthalates
in cosmetics pose no risk. The FDA agreed.

"The consensus between the CIR and the FDA was that
phthalates are safe in cosmetics," said FDA spokeswoman
Veronica Castro.

Several cosmetics companies, including Aveda, have stopped
using phthalates in new products. Recently, the European
Union decided to phase out DEHP and DBP from use in
cosmetics. The chemical industry argues that the move was
not based on science, but on irrational fear and incomplete
evidence.

Noting that some cosmetics are made without phthalates,
Brody wonders why manufacturers don't simply replace the
controversial compounds with other chemicals. McEwen says
the answer comes down to logic: "Why should we change from
something that is absolutely safe? That doesn't make sense."

Phthalate opponents say that even without ironclad proof
that low levels cause harm in humans, there is enough data
to warrant a ban. Animal studies must be considered, they
say, particularly given the difficulty of doing phthalate
studies in humans.

"It's very hard to study in people, and very hard to find
problems even when they exist," says Goldman. "If a kid
grows up and has fertility problems, are you going to know
how much nail polish his mother used during pregnancy? We
need to use the animal data."

The debate extends beyond cosmetics. Many soft plastic toys
are made with diisononyl phthalate (DINP), which studies
show causes liver damage in animals. Some environmental
groups say the chemical, which makes up as much of 40
percent of some plastic playthings, can leach out at risky
levels, particularly when kids suck on toys. Responding to a
combination of research and pressure, some countries have
restricted phthalates in toys. The EU has banned DINP in
toys for kids 3 and under, while Japan has announced a plan
to get rid of DEHP and DINP in toys for kids 6 and under. In
1998, U.S. toy manufacturers voluntarily agreed to stop
using phthalates in pacifiers and rattlers. But
environmental groups say many other toys still contain DINP.

Recently, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
completed a four-year study, concluding that toys with DINP
were not a health risk. While agreeing that DINP could be
toxic, the commission said children sucked on toys an
average of 1.9 minutes per day, and would have to suck for
39 minutes to ingest risky levels.

But environmental and consumer groups criticize the ruling.
"The CPSC is erring on the side of exposing kids to a toxic
chemical," said Andy Igrejas of the nonprofit, nonpartisan
National Environmental Trust, which wants DINP banned from
all 5-and-under playthings.

For some, the disputes over specific types of products miss
the point. "It's wrong that we're asking about phthalates
just in cosmetics or toys. People are getting phthalates
from multiple sources," says Dr. Ted Schettler, science
director for the Science and Environmental Health Network.

Some researchers believe that phthalates can migrate from
packaging into food, especially fatty items like cheese and
meat. An ongoing study by the Silent Spring Institute is
looking at air and house dust in 120 Massachusetts houses
and has found "significant concentrations" of phthalates,
including DEHP and DBP. The study has been submitted for
publication in a leading journal.

"That suggests we should consider inhalation as a pathway,"
says toxicologist Ruthann Rudel, who led the study.

One senior government researcher, who requested anonymity,
said that because phthalates are part of so many products,
no one has a clear picture of how and where humans are being
exposed. He notes that the CDC study looked for only seven
compounds; there are, he says, dozens used in commercial
products.

Copyright  2003, Newsday, Inc.

------------- END REPRINT -------------

FURTHER COMMENTS:

"Sarah L." wrote:
> 
> hoodwinkedbrand@aol.com (HoodWinkedBrand) wrote:

> > Thanks Cat for the info.  You may or may not know that Indio actualy
> > sells the stuff by the gallon, labeled as "Solvent".  Here's the 
> > link....
> > http://www.indioproducts.com/files/page_91.html

Yep. That's it. Thanks for the link. Basically, Indio uses diethyl
phthalate to cut essential herb and flower oils to make them more
blendable in a carrier. They wouldn't be selling it by the gallon if
they were not buying it by the 55 gallon drum, if you take my meaning. 
 
> > The one thing I might add is that the chemical in question is just one
> > of several possible harmful ones contained in and or produced as a by
> > product of plastic manafacturing. Everyone has been exposed.

Yes, we are all exposed, environmentally speaking, to these noxious
chemicals -- but how many people BURN PLASTIC IN RITUALS? 

When you dress a candle with an aromatherapy or occult oil that
contains diethyl phthalate, and burn the candle, you are inhaling the
stuff -- which is considered the most dangerous way to expose yourself
to it. 

By fortuitous coincidence, a customer came into our shop today -- and
drove about 100 miles to see us, too, bless him -- who happens to be a
professional organic chemist, with a Ph.D. and all. I asked him about
diethyl phthalate being used in dressing oils that are burned on
candles, and boy, you should have seen the look on his face! He was
shocked! He explained that when diethyl phthalate is pyrolized (heated
and burned) it breaks down into benzene, a very toxic chemical. His
final summary, after a detailed chemistry lesson: "Diethyl phthalate
is a xeno-estrogen, so it's not good for the reproductive system. If
you burn it, it can give you cancer."

'Nuff said. 

> Excellent info, thanks. Prompted me to check out what all I have in
> the house. Frist did research on Sunshine Oils, their products have
> been around for awhile. Found out they are owned by The Golden
> Temple/3HO(http://www.goldentemple.com/), not my favorite group of
> folks, so won't be buying their products again. Anyway, got this
> response from their customer service rep concerning whether their
> products contain diethyl phthalate:
> 
> "The making of our Sunshine Oils includes the proprietary blend of
> natural essential oils that make up a particular fragrance mixed with
> dipropylene glycol.
> 
> In most cases we use natural essence, with exception to our Ambergris,
> Musk, and Sandalwood Perfume oils."
> 
> This from Jennifer Merrill, Customer Service Rep.
> Soothing Touch & Sunshine Spa
> 1-800-285-6457 ext. 289
> jennifer@kiit.com
> 
> Her answer is somewhat confusing. I'm checking on just what
> dipropylene glycol is. As for "natural essence" in the perfume oils, I
> thought carnation oil for one was almost always artificial. They do
> sell a carnation perfume oil.

Carnation is a blend of natural and artificial scents -- there is no
natural carnation oil. 

> The second company I checked is LorAnn Oils:
> http://www.lorannoils.com/aroma_homepage.htm
> 
> "LorAnn oils has been importing and distributing essential oils since
> the early 1960's, and our customers recognize LorAnn for consistent,
> dependable quality.  LorAnn's essential oils are 100% pure botanicals
> without any added alcohol, carrier oils or other natural or synthetic
> dilutants or extenders.  Our oils are obtained exclusively through
> steam-distillation or cold press.  Each oil is tested and certified.
> Every batch and bottle is lot-coded for quality assurance."
> 
> They also manufacture Global Notes Pure Essence Perfume:
> http://www.globalnotes.com/qa.htm
> 
> Thanks again for the information, very good to know. I only knew to
> discern between essential and perfume oils before learning this. I am
> researching some local products also. One company, Radiance Herbs and
> Massage states: "Be careful: there is much deception in the world of
> fragrance. Make sure your source is trustworthy."
> My only experience so far with Lucky Mojo products were with all that
> is contained in the Cast Off Evil kit, I was very very pleased,
> everything felt fresh and lively. Good stuff.

Thanks for the further information, Sarah. 

Following up on my own post, i also found this page on diethyl
phthalate, which explains what to do if you spill a drum of it in your factory:

http://ntp-server.niehs.nih.gov/htdocs/Chem_H&S/NTP_Chem8/Radian84-66-2.html

-EMERGENCY PROCEDURES
 ====================

*SKIN CONTACT:
      IMMEDIATELY flood affected skin with water while removing and
isolating all contaminated clothing.  Gently wash all affected skin
areas thoroughly with soap and water.
      If symptoms such as redness or irritation develop, IMMEDIATELY
call a
physician and be prepared to transport the victim to a hospital for treatment.

*INHALATION:
      IMMEDIATELY leave the contaminated area; take deep breaths of
fresh air. If symptoms (such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of
breath, or burning in the mouth, throat, or chest) develop, call a
physician and be prepared to transport the victim to a hospital.
      Provide proper respiratory protection to rescuers entering an
unknown atmosphere.  Whenever possible, Self-Contained Breathing
Apparatus (SCBA) should be used; if not available, use a level of
protection greater than or equal to that advised under Respirator Recommendation.

*EYE CONTACT:
      First check the victim for contact lenses and remove if present.
 Flush victim's eyes with water or normal saline solution for 20 to 30
minutes while simultaneously calling a hospital or poison control center.
      Do not put any ointments, oils, or medication in the victim's
eyes without specific instructions from a physician.
      IMMEDIATELY transport the victim after flushing eyes to a
hospital even if no symptoms (such as redness or irritation) develop.

*INGESTION:
      DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING.  If the victim is conscious and not
convulsing, give 1 or 2 glasses of water to dilute the chemical and
IMMEDIATELY call a hospital or poison control center.  Be prepared to
transport the victim to a hospital if advised by a physician.
      If the victim is convulsing or unconscious, do not give anything
by mouth, ensure that the victim's airway is open and lay the victim
on his/her side with the head lower than the body.  DO NOT INDUCE
VOMITING.  IMMEDIATELY transport the victim to a hospital.

*SYMPTOMS:
      Symptoms of exposure to this compound may include irritation of
the skin, eyes, mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract;
reproductive disorders and headache [269].  Inhalation of heated
vapors may cause transient irritation of the nose and throat
[058,346,421].  High concentrations may cause narcosis
[031,043,051,062].  High concentrations may also cause central nervous
system depression [151,295].  Other symptom of exposure include
conjunctivitis, corneal necrosis, dizziness, nausea and eczema [346]. 
Inhalation may lead to coughing and chest discomfort [058]. 
Inhalation may also lead to lacrimation, respiratory obstruction and
other unspecified respiratory system effects [043].

(Full list of sources [in brackets above] are at the cited URL)

I have been asked in email to explain why, if diethyl phthalate is so
bad, the FDA allows it in cosmetics and in aromatherapy and magical
oils. 

Quick answer -- I don't know. 

I have also been asked if diethyl phthalate is really so much worse
than traditional carrier oils, like Olive Oil or Almond Oil. 

Quick answer: Imagine that instead of diethyl phthalate a manufacturer
was using Almond Oil as a carrier, and spilled a 55 gallon drum of
that. You would not see warnings about clean-up teams transporting
workers to the hospital or using scuba gear to go into the building,
would you?  Well, there's the difference, in a nutshell. 

I again want to emphasize that not all manufacturers of magical or
aromatherapy oils put diethyl phthalate in their products. But some
do. Let the buyer beware.  

cat yronwode

Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic 
http://www.luckymojo.com/hoodooherbmagic.html

---

Graham Sorenson wrote:
> 
> > [someone] wrote:

> > However: so will a great many aromatic oils.  Are you going to stop
> > burning any oil that contains limonene, methyl salicylate, benzyl
> > cinnamate or methyl benzoate?  (That would account for about half of
> > all the oils used in aromatherapy).
> 
> What is this about burning oils? In Aromatherapy oils are
> Diffused/evaporated not burned.
> 
> Burning indicates to me that you use the oils as a flammable agent rather
> than dispersing them because they are volatile oils.
> 
> You are using obfuscation here about how essential oils are used in
> aromatherapy.

The burning of oils on candles is a practice in some forms of
traditional folk magic, not in aromatherapy, but was mentioned because
the same health considerations apply. The inhalation of diethyl
phthalate in ANY form (burned or unburned) was implicated as a cause
of sperm damage and cancer in the March 4th Newsday article cited at
the beginning of this thread. 

cat yronwode 
     Lucky Mojo Curio Co. http://www.luckymojo.com/catalogue.html

---

[??? ] wrote: 
> >> What is this about burning oils? In Aromatherapy oils are Diffused/
> >> evaporated not burned.
> >> Burning indicates to me that you use the oils as a flammable agent
> >> rather than dispersing them because they are volatile oils.

[???????] wrote:
> >I'd assumed the original poster meant the oils were incorporated into
> >the candle wax.

I was the original poster. I did not refer to candle wax but to
dressing oils used on candles. This is part of the hoodoo tradition of
African-American folk magic, also called conjure and rootwork. The
dressing oil -- which traditionally is a blend of essential oils and
herbs in a carrier oil such as Olive or Almond oil -- is either spread
on the surface of a free-standing candle or poured into the "well" of
a pillar or glass-encased candle while prayers are said. The dressing
oil is thus burned with the molten candle wax. 

> >If they're not burned then there isn't any benzene hazard from the
> >phthalate, either.  The point is that any middling-sized molecule
> >with a benzene ring in it will degrade to produce free benzene at
> >about the same temperature; there's no difference in risk between
> >the aromatic oils and this synthetic additive.

cat yronwode:

> > > The burning of oils on candles is a practice in some forms of
> > > traditional folk magic, not in aromatherapy, but was mentioned because
> > > the same health considerations apply. The inhalation of diethyl
> > > phthalate in ANY form (burned or unburned) was implicated as a cause
> > > of sperm damage and cancer in the March 4th Newsday article cited at
> > > the beginning of this thread. 

Tijuana Iguana
> So which oils have this element (and/or candle wax, as I've heard
> that rumor outside of this forum also) ?

The original post concerned a large manufacturer of traditional hoodoo
oils that are also sold widely in the magical and New Age communities
-- the maker is International Imports in Southern California. The
company has several lines of oils, marketed under the brand names
Indio, Arjax, Seven Sisters of New Orleans, Anna Riva, and River of
Jordan. This manufacturer does not follow traditional African-American
hoodoo practice by putting herbs in the oils, and in some formulas the
company has substituted synthetic fragrances for traditional herbal or
floral essential oils. The company has introduced diethyl phthalate
into the some or all of the formulas. Upstream in this thread a poster
named Jason Gammon (HoodwinkedBrand) found and posted the URL where
Indio Products sells diethyl phthalate by the gallon at its retail
website. It is unclear at this time how much diethyl phthalate there
is in each of this manufacturer's products. It may be used simply to
cut the more viscous essential oils, like Myrrh Oil or Patchouli Oil,
but it was suggested to me that this chemical may now be a major
carrier for the fragrance. 

I have not heard any rumours about diethyl phthalate being used in
candle wax, but since it is a softening agent, i would look for it
first in glass-encased 7-day candles, which are made with a very gooey
form of soft wax. International Imports is also a manufacturer of
these soft wax candles, by the way, but not by any means the only such
manufacturer. 

cat yronwode

---

From: bogus@purr.demon.co.uk (bogus address)

>>> If they're not burned then there isn't any benzene hazard from the
>>> phthalate, either.  The point is that any middling-sized molecule
>>> with a benzene ring in it will degrade to produce free benzene at
>>> about the same temperature; there's no difference in risk between
>>> the aromatic oils and this synthetic additive.
>> The burning of oils on candles is a practice in some forms of
>> traditional folk magic [...] The inhalation of diethyl phthalate
>> in ANY form (burned or unburned) was implicated as a cause of
>> sperm damage and cancer in the March 4th Newsday article cited at
>> the beginning of this thread.
> If burning even a pure essential oil also releases phthalate, though....

It doesn't.  It may release benzene, but in small quantities.  Benzene
is carcinogenic but not violently so, it's hardly in the same league as
tars in in smoke.

An aromatic oil isn't going to be present in very large quantities.
Since diethyl phthalate doesn't have a very strong smell there could
be quite a lot of it in an oil or wax without you noticing.

> It seems to me that this practice (though traditional) is not
> terribly safe no matter exactly what the composition of the oil
> is, fully natural or not...

It's probably going to release a lot less tar than burning incense,
and people have been doing that for thousands of years without any
discernible cancer epidemic resulting.  On the other hand xeno-
oestrogenic pollution has had a dramatic impact on sperm counts in
industrialized countries over the last few decades - that *is*
something to worry about.

========> Email to "j-c" at this site; email to "bogus" will bounce <========
Jack Campin: 11 Third Street, Newtongrange, Midlothian EH22 4PU; 0131 6604760
  food intolerance data & recipes,
Mac logic fonts, Scots traditional music files, and my CD-ROM "Embro, Embro".

-----

From: "Yowie" 

"catherine yronwode" 



> I have also been asked if diethyl phthalate is really so much worse
> than traditional carrier oils, like Olive Oil or Almond Oil.
>
> Quick answer: Imagine that instead of diethyl phthalate a manufacturer
> was using Almond Oil as a carrier, and spilled a 55 gallon drum of
> that. You would not see warnings about clean-up teams transporting
> workers to the hospital or using scuba gear to go into the building,
> would you?  Well, there's the difference, in a nutshell.

You'd be surprised. The Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the most
innocuous looking things read like a horror story. For example, plain old
table salt, NaCl, does horrid things to the skin, and can produce nasty
effects if inhaled inthe right quantities. I laugh each time it I see "do
not ingest" on the containers at work (I am an industrial chemist)

From the MSDS for almond oil (found at
http://www.snowdriftfarm.com/akomsds.pdf) we have:

    "Signs/Symptoms of overexposure: MAY CAUSE MILD EYE IRRITATION. FIRST
AID SKIN: WASH WITH SOAP AND WATER. RINSE WITH PLENTY OF WATER. LUNGS: MOVE
TO FRESH AIR. SEEK MEDICAL CARE IMMEDIATELY. EYES: FLUSH WITH PLENTY OF
WATER FOR 15 MINUTES. INGESTION: DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. SEEK MEDICAL CARE
IMMEDIATELY"

    "USE SUITABLE RESPIRATOR TO CLEAN UP SPILLED PRODUCT IF AEROSOLS ARE
PRESENT"

Thats not to say that pthalates are safe as almond oil, because they aren't.
But like most things, a small degree of exposure won't cause a problem in
most people. Dressing a candle with diethyl pthalate is not going to
increase the exposure to DEP all that much. I'd still prefer to use natural
products if I can, and yes, DEP prolly does present some risk to the human
body, but in terms of overall danger to life, using a car as transport is
still far far far more deadly than DEP usage.

Just trying to put it into context.

Yowie

---

From: "Yowie" 

"Tijuana Iguana"  wrote

> So which oils have this element (and/or candle wax, as I've heard
> that rumor outside of this forum also) ?

Which oils have the benzene ring?

Pretty much all of them, and yes, so does candle wax in varying degrees
(although most of the candle was tends to be long chain aliphatic
hydrocarbons, there is almost always some contamination with other organic
compounds) .

The benzene ring (C6H6) is responsible for some to the coolest smells
around - its no coincidence that anything with a benzene ring as part of its
structure is known as an "aromatic" hydrocarbon.

But don't panic. Burning or even heating an aromatic compound doesn't
necessarily mean that you'll be breathing in tonnes and tonnes of actual
*benzene*. You'll be inhaling *mainly* pure bog standard air with its usual
contaminants in it - dust, pollution, bacteria, viruses, dog farts, etc etc.
And some aromatic hydrocarbons from the essential oil, of which, most will
still be intact. Some will have degraded to various degrees, and yes, there
may be some actual benzene molecules included in the mix, but it won't in
such quantities as to cause severe effects unless you happen to be overly
sensitive.

If you consider that the human animal was designed specifically to inhale
air which has buckets of contaminants, and detect smells (a certain class of
air contaminants), then the nice aroma of incense isn't all that bad for
you. If you notice youg et a headache, red eyes, develop asthma or other
symptoms with a particular scent, then quit using it, but if you consider
our early ancestors sat in poorly ventilated caves and lit wood fires in
them, even *burnt* (as opposed to just vapourised) essential oils aren't
going to be all that dangeous to sensible people.

Yowie

---

Once again -- this is not about BENZENE or ESSENTIAL OILS. It is about DEP -- 
DIETHYL PHTHALATE, a carcinogen, an estrogen-mimic, and a chemical known to 
cause change and damage to male reproductive organs in laboratory 
animals. There is no reason on earth that this dangerous chemical -- which 
does not occur in nature -- should be added to magical oils. 

cat yronwode

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