The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) has branded media reports of a recent study into triclosan use in cosmetics as ‘scare stories’ that do not reflect reality and reiterated the safety of cosmetic products.
The statement relates to recent media reports claiming that an ingredient, triclosan, used in some cosmetic products may not be safe and could be linked to cell and muscle damage , and so cause heart problems.
The stories are based on a study conducted at the Universities of California Davis and Colorado and looked at the effects of triclosan on isolated muscle cells from the heart and general muscle fibres in the laboratory and also in some animals, and found that under the test conditions the ability of the muscle cells to contract was reduced.
However, CTPA responded by saying that whilst the study has academic interest, cosmetic and personal care products are safe.
“There are stringent EU rules surrounding the manufacture of cosmetic products, and these require manufacturers to carry out a rigorous safety assessment by a professionally qualified safety assessor before placing a cosmetic product on the market,” it says.
This assessment takes into account the finished product and all of the ingredients (whether they are natural or man-made) as well as how and where the product is to be used and how often.
“It must be remembered that the doses used in the study are unrealistically large when compared with the maximum permitted level of triclosan in cosmetic products and the amount people would be exposed to,” CTPA continues.
“This new study does nothing to undermine the proven, safe use of Triclosan in cosmetic products.”
Triclosan is approved for use as a preservative in cosmetic products at up to 0.3 per cent by the strict European laws which control the safety of cosmetics.
Authors urged caution
It is worth noting that even the authors of the study urged caution that translating the results from their animal experiments into humans is a large step and would require further study.
It is not the first time the ingredient has been scrutinised over its safety. In 2011 the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety found that a maximum 0.3 per cent dosage in personal care products such as deodorants, toothpastes and hand soaps was considered safe.
The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) also hit back over the media reports concerning the study expressing its ‘disappointment’ over the matter.