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  • Feature Story

EPA Report Concludes Safety of Most Preservatives

November 11, 2015

DENMARK - The Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a report concluding the safety of several preservatives for use in cosmetic products, within their permitted concentrations.

The EPA conducted a study on preservatives using a total of 639 different cosmetic products ranging from sunscreens to powders.  Of these, 53 products contained preservatives. Thirty-one out of the 53 preservatives used are included in Annex V of the EU Cosmetic Legislation. Among the 639 products, 31% are not using preservatives.

Following are preservatives suspected to be damaging to health and the environment:

  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Imidazolidinyl Urea
  • Zinc Pyrithione
  • Thimerosal
  • Phenoxyethanol

Among these, phenoxyethanol was found to be the most commonly used. The agency noted that its risk remains unclear until the European Commission's Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety (SCCS) releases its conclusion.

As for the other four compounds, they have been found to be safe, although some pose an allergy risk. Allergy risk has not been substantiated by the study due to lack of data on individual substances.

The document has also noted the decrease in use of parabens.