Four potential EDCs are safe in cosmetics, says Commission consumer safety body


The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety has adopted final Opinions on four potential endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs): resorcinol; propylparaben; and UV filters benzophenone-3 and octocrylene. All four are safe in cosmetics in limited concentrations, according to the committee.

The compounds are all on a Commission priority list of 28 potential endocrine disrupting chemicals in cosmetic products.

The SCCS found that resorcinol is safe in limited concentrations in hair dyes and shampoos, despite evidence for endocrine-disrupting properties. In vitro and animal studies have shown that it has thyroid effects, inhibiting the enzyme thyroid peroxidase. In its final Opinion, the committee acknowledges the anti-thyroid effects, but says that available human studies point to a “relatively much higher level of exposure than is the case from cosmetics”.

Propylparaben is safe when used as a preservative in cosmetic products up to a maximum concentration of 0.14%, the SCCS found. Available data provide “some indications” for potential endocrine effects but not enough evidence to regard the substance as an EDC, it concludes.

UV filters

The committee decided that benzophenone-3 (BP-3) is safe when used as a UV filter in cosmetics, at maximum concentrations of 2.2% in body creams and sprays, provided that there is no additional BP-3 in the products to protect the cosmetic formulation.

It agrees that there are “indications” from some studies that the substance may have endocrine-disrupting effects and that further investigations are warranted. However, it considers that currently available evidence for its endocrine-disrupting properties is “inconclusive, and at best equivocal”.

The SCCS also considers that octocrylene is safe as a UV filter at concentrations up to 10% in cosmetic products. Although some in vivo studies suggest that it may have endocrine effects, the evidence is not yet conclusive enough to derive a specific endocrine-related toxicological point of departure for use in safety assessment, it concludes.

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Chemical Watch, 22 April 2021