Aluminium is used in cosmetics, particularly in lipsticks and antiperspirants, and has come under scrutiny as a potential health risk.
Back in March, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) requested that limits be introduced on the use of aluminium in antiperspirant deodorants and other cosmetics, while studies linking its use with increased risk of disease and cancer, has led the Commission to take a closer look.
In its findings, the Committee comes to no conclusions regarding safe concentration limits for aluminium, due to a lack of data on dermal penetration to estimate the internal dose of the substance following cosmetic use.
Going forward, the SCCS suggests that a human exposure study under real-life conditions is conducted; a view backed by Cosmetics Europe.
The findings also note that there is no evidence that aluminium in the levels reached with cosmetic use is carcinogenic, increases the risk of breast cancer, Alzheimer's disease, or chronic neurodegenerative diseases.
“Aluminium is a known systemic toxicant at high doses,” says the report. “Confusion exists with respect to the correct terminology for underarm deodorants that are actually present on the market since they often contain both, typical deodorant as well as typical antiperspirant ingredients.”
This confusion regarding the correct terminology of deodorants and antiperspirants is because products can be formulated to reduce body odour, perspiration or both.
Cosmetics Europe says that as part of the follow up process to this opinion, it will collaborate with authorities to clarify this.
“There is already good, independent safety characterization of antiperspirants however European authorities are requesting more data on skin penetration behaviour,” says a trade association statement.
“To leave no doubt about the safety of antiperspirants, an industry consortium is investing in a comprehensive independent research study using human volunteers.”
Stringent European regulations on cosmetic products require that they are extensively tested for safety so they do not pose a risk to human health during normal use.
To ensure this, every single cosmetic product undergoes a safety assessment by a duly qualified safety assessor before being placed on the market. This assessment takes into account each of the ingredients and the intended use.