Preserving with Methylisothiazolinone

Feb 21, 2014 | Contact Author | By: Chris Flower, PhD and Emma Meredith, PhD, The Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association
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Title: Preserving with Methylisothiazolinone
methylisothiazolinonex preservativex Annex Vx microorganismsx
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Keywords: methylisothiazolinone | preservative | Annex V | microorganisms

Abstract: Methylisothiazolinone (MI or MIT), a preservative used in cosmetics and other household products, has recently been in the news. MI was approved in Annex V as a cosmetic preservative up to 0.01%; however, after dermatologists found it to be a possible allergen, its safety was again reviewed by the SCCS.

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C Flower and E Meredith, Preserving with Methylisothiazolinone, Cosm & Toil 129(2) 24 (2014)

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 Methylisothiazolinone (MI or MIT), a preservative used in cosmetics and other household products, recently has been in the news. Of course, preservatives are essential in almost all cosmetics to prevent the growth of microorganisms during product use, and sometimes to extend the shelf-life of a product, which of course is in the consumer’s interest. Who would want to buy a product that did not last long enough to use it all?

Discarding unused but unusable products is hardly sustainable, but preservatives are much more important for other reasons. Contaminated products can become unpleasant due to off-odors, unpleasant textures and unsightliness. They may also lose efficacy, since the performance of a product often relies on its integrity. In addition, contaminated products can be unsafe to use, potentially introducing large numbers of pathogenic organisms onto the skin, mouth or near the eyes. It is therefore in the consumer’s interest for product manufacturers to ensure the microbiological stability of cosmetics—and this, in most cases, is through the use of preservatives.

European Cosmetics Regulation No. 1223/2009 defines a preservative as a substance that is exclusively or mainly intended to inhibit the development of microorganisms in the cosmetic product. It also stipulates that cosmetic products on the EU market may only contain the approved preservatives listed in Annex V. To be listed in this annex, safety data must be submitted to the European Commission (EC) to be evaluated by its Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety (SCCS). If the dossier gains a positive opinion from the SCCS, a proposal to amend legislation is drafted by the EC and must then be approved by the Member States before being published in the Official Journal of the European Union as new legislation.

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Biography: Chris Flower, PhD, CTPA

Chris Flower, PhD, is director-general of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA), which he has strategically made more visible to both the media and the public. He joined the CTPA in 1996 after 25 years in the cosmetics industry in product safety and R&D. He is a chartered biologist with a Master’s of Science degree from the University of Surrey and a doctorate from the CNAA, both in toxicology and physiology/pathology. He is on the board of Cosmetics Europe and chairs several of its expert committees.

Biography: Emma Meredith, PhD, CTPA

Emma Meredith, PhD, is head of scientific and technical services at the CTPA, where she addresses ingredient issues, contributes to the CTPA’s communications strategy and provides technical guidance for producing cosmetic products. After qualifying from King’s College, London, she obtained her doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. She is particularly interested in sun protection products, hair colorants and cosmetovigilance. She represents the CTPA on several committees for Cosmetics Europe.

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