Round-up of SCCS updates so far in 2012...

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chemistry, Sccs

Round-up of SCCS updates so far in 2012...
In recent months the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety has been regularly updating the industry on its progress in safety and regulation areas. In light of this, Cosmetics Design rounds up its progress so far in 2012...

The SCCS, an advisory body established to advise the European Commission on issues associated with consumer safety recently revealed it had been working on hair dyes, nanomaterials in cosmetics and sensitization in hair dyes.

Updates and advancements

Earlier this month, the group announced it had a draft document containing opinions on kojic acid, benzisothiazolinone and nitrosamines used in cosmetic products.

According to the document, the SCCS studied skin lightener, Kojic acid (5-hydroxy-2-hydroxymethyl-4-pyrone,  and concluded that the chemical is safe at a concentration of 1 per cent in leave-on creams applied to the face and hands.

It also illustrated the committee’s opinion on nitrosamine, which covers estimates of lifetime cancer incidence for N-nitrosodiethanolamine (NDELA) in cosmetic products.

The opinions have been approved for adoption by the group in its most recent plenary meeting and are now open for comments by applicants, national authorities and other interested parties for a period of four weeks after publication.

Hair straightening products

Meanwhile, the SCCS was also asked for its opinion as to whether methylene glycol should be considered as a formaldehyde equivalent in cosmetic products.

After looking into the matter, it concluded that it is justified to consider the aqueous mixture of gaseous formaldehyde and methylene glycol as “free formaldehyde​” and the quantities as “formaldehyde equivalents​” in aqueous solutions.

Having established methylene glycol as an equivalent, SCCS then stated that its use in hair straightening products at a concentration of 0.2 per cent, the amount of gaseous formaldehyde released may exceed 0.1 mg/m³ (0.08 ppm), which is the WHO indoor air quality guideline for short term exposure.

Methylene glycol produces gaseous formaldehyde under the intended conditions of use in hair straightening products due to the application of heat by straightening irons and/or blow drying.

Manufacturers of hair straightening products claim being compliant with the cosmetics legislation, arguing that methylene glycol is chemically different from formaldehyde and as free formaldehyde is only present in trace amounts in the product.

Assessing risk

This month the SCCS also revealed it been working on the use of the 'Threshold of Toxicological Concern' approach to determine whether the tool is appropriate to assess the health risk of chemicals, with a focus on cosmetics.

The tool uses available knowledge on the structure and toxicity of chemical substances to categorise them according to their toxic potency. For each category, safe exposure levels are defined.

The approach is said to be an alternative to costly and time consuming toxicological testing. However, according to the group, there are two conditions which must be met for the approach to be used as a substitute; where there is little or no information on the toxicity of a chemical substance and where the human exposure is so low that adverse effects are very unlikely to happen.

Hair dyes

Thereafter, the Committee released its opinion on Tetrabromophenol Blue, used in hair dyes, noted it may pose a risk to consumers.

After looking into the data, it suggested that the use of Tetrabromophenol Blue with a maximum on-head concentration of 0.2 per cent in non-oxidative hair dye formulations does pose a risk to the health of the consumer due to the low Margin of Safety.

“Tetrabromophenol Blue is a mixture octa-, hepta- and hexa-bromo phenolsulfonphthaleins, and does not contain any Tetrabromo-homologue, therefore the INCI name is misleading​." 

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