Cosmetics packaging tests mirror food migration tests

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  • Published: May 21, 2014
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: Proteomics / MRI Spectroscopy / NMR Knowledge Base / UV/Vis Spectroscopy / Infrared Spectroscopy / X-ray Spectrometry / Atomic / Chemometrics & Informatics / Raman / Base Peak

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Some of the magical contents in cosmetics which claim to help skin flaws like wrinkles or give you stronger lustrous hair leave me wondering about the science that goes behind them. Or to be more accurate, the marketing that goes behind the science, with ingredients like serums and mysterious peptides able to "reduce the appearance of…" which is different to actually reducing.

Whatever these components are in cosmetics, they have to be safe to apply and are thoroughly tested accordingly. However, there may also be unwanted chemicals that originate in the packaging and migrate into the cosmetics, in a similar way that they do in packaged foods.

In the EU, regulations were introduced in 2009 and later, which stipulated that it is the responsibility of the cosmetics manufacturer to prove that prohibited chemicals have not entered their products. Based on the experience of the food industry, scientists from the EXPERTOX Agency and Laboratory in Paris have devised a GC/MS method for measuring the levels of 12 chemicals which are prohibited in cosmetics.

The chemicals were selected as those most likely to originate from cosmetics packaging material, details of which were held in the EXPERTOX product information files. Plastics, particularly polyethylene and its high-density form, are the most popular materials. Polyesters, resins, mixed plastics, glass and steel are also found in this context.

So, seven phthalate esters, anthracene, bisphenol A, musk xylene, 4,4'-diaminodiphenylmethane and formaldehyde were tested for in 79 creams, shower gels, perfumes, stick deodorants, mascaras and gloss products as described in International Journal of Cosmetic Science.

The only contaminant detected was di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate but is was present in 10 out of 12 stick deodorants and 10 out of 11 of perfumes. However, these levels at 630-670 ng/mL and 16,470-80,350 ng/mL, respectively, are safe according to guidelines set by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products.

The new procedure will help to ensure that manufacturers can check the safety of their products and fall in with current legislation, ensuring that consumers know exactly what is in their purchases.


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