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Danish investigation highlights EDC use in mascaras
04 January 2018

Danish investigation highlights EDC use in mascaras
'Cocktail effect' of chemicals could lead to over exposure

2 January 2018 / Denmark, 

The Danish Consumer Council 'Think Chemicals' initiative has released test results showing the presence of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and other unwanted chemicals in mascaras.

Think Chemicals checked the ingredients listed on the labels of 55 mascaras and matched them against lists of problematic substances, including the EU's endocrine disruptor priority list and its list of harmonised classifications.

Of those tested it found 32 contained substances that were allergenic or "endocrine disrupting and problematic to the environment".

The problematic substances identified were:

parabens – suspected to be endocrine disrupting;
butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) – suspected to be endocrine disrupting;
cyclopentasiloxane – suspected to be endocrine disrupting and problematic to the environment;
PTFE – a fluorinated substance that is problematic to the environment;
chloroxylenol – an allergenic substance;
imidazolidinyl urea – an allergenic substance; and
iodopropynyl butylcarbamate – an allergenic substance.
'Cocktail effect'
The research says that endocrine disrupting and allergenic substances in mascara do not generally constitute a problem, because the amount in a single product is very small.

However, they can contribute to consumers' combined exposure to unwanted chemicals encountered from many sources.

"The cocktail effect is the combined effect when you add up your exposure to many different substances from many different products. Even though the single product is safe, your combined exposure can be too high," the research says.

It, therefore, recommends buying cosmetics without problematic chemicals as one of the ways consumers can minimise their exposure.

The report found that brands such as Clinique, MAC, Chanel, Helena Rubinstein, Lancôme and L'Oreal had mascara products both with and without problematic chemicals.

Company reactions
In response an Estée Lauder Cosmetics spokesperson said the company does not use substances which constitute any danger and all ingredients were approved for use in skin care products and cosmetics by the EU and the Danish authorities.

A spokesperson for L’Oréal said consumer safety is the company's most important objective and it has a team of more than 100 toxicologists, doctors and experts, who are responsible for verifying that all launched products are safe.

"When it comes to preservatives in our products, they can be necessary to protect the product against bacteria and fungus and to secure that the product can be used for several months," the company added. "We use only safe products and legal preservatives and do not compromise our consumers' safety."

And a spokesperson for Dark Blond Cosmetics said the company's future mascaras will be made without cyclopentasiloxane.

The Danish Consumer Council Think Chemicals is a programme which carries out independent testing of products, aimed at helping consumers avoid chemicals of concern.