EC steps up safety limits on more cosmetic preservatives

By Michelle Yeomans contact

- Last updated on GMT

EC steps up safety limits on more cosmetic preservatives

Related tags: Paraben

The Commission has restricted the use of three more preservatives in cosmetic products in an effort to 'strengthen the protection of consumers'.

Following an assessment by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, the EC is limiting the maximum concentration on Propylparaben and Butylparaben, from 0.4% when used individually and 0.8% when mixed with other esters, to 0.14% when used in both instances.

In regards, to leave-on products designed for the nappy area of young children, the Commission has ruled a ban on the preservatives, as "existing skin irritation and occlusion may allow increased penetration than intact skin​".

The new rules will apply for products put on shelves after 16 April 2015.

Ban on MCI/MI

The Commission has also banned the mixture of Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI) from leave-on products such as body creams.

The measure is aimed at "reducing the risk from and the incidence of skin allergies"​.

The preservative can still be used in rinse-off products such as shampoos and shower gels at a maximum concentration of 0.0015% of a mixture in the ratio 3:1 of MCI/MI.

This measure will apply for products placed on the market after 16 July 2015.

Preservatives in cosmetics

Preservatives in cosmetics serve as a valuable function in ensuring products are free from pathogens.

Without preservatives, all cosmetics would have a very short shelf life and would, in the most part, have to be stored in a fridge.

In addition to Propylparaben and Butylparaben, other parabens, like Methylparaben and Ethylparaben, are safe, as repeatedly confirmed by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety. They are also some of the most efficient preservatives.

Earlier this year, the Commission banned the use of five other parabens in cosmetic products - Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Phenylparaben, Benzylparaben and Pentylparaben (See Commission Regulation (EU) No 358/2014​) due to the lack of data necessary for reassessment.

Products placed on the market after 30 October 2014 will have to be free from these substances.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Skin Care

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