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The Impact of Junk Science on R&D: A Review of the 'Dirty Dozen'
By: David C. Steinberg, Steinberg & Associates
Posted: September 29, 2010, from the October 2010 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
page 8 of 9
The final ingredient in the list of the “dirty dozen” is triclosan, which according to the report is used mainly in antiperspirants/deodorants, cleansers and hand sanitizers as a preservative and an antibacterial agent. It can pass through skin and is suspected of interfering with hormone function (endocrine disruption). Environment Canada categorized triclosan as potentially toxic to aquatic organisms, bioaccumulative, and persistent. In other words, it doesn’t easily degrade and can build up in the environment after it has been rinsed down the shower drain. The extensive use of this chemical in consumer products may contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The Canadian Medical Association has called for a ban on antibacterial consumer products, such as those containing triclosan.
Facts: Triclosan, as most formulators know, is used in cosmetics as an antibacterial agent in deodorants. It is not found in antiperspirants; rather, it is used as an active ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) drugs such as toothpaste and antibacterial cleansers. In Canada, in regard to OTC use, all drugs must be pre-approved by Health Canada for safety and effectiveness. All drugs must meet an OTC Drug monograph in the United States or be approved by the FDA before being placed on the market.
Triclosan has become the number one target of NGOs, possibly due to the fact that it is used generally in OTC topicals rather than cosmetics in the United States. The CIR is currently reviewing this material. In Annex VI to the Cosmetics Directive, the EU approved the use of this material up to 0.3% with no warnings required. The number of formulations containing this ingredient, based on FDA data, is 494. In regard to replacement ingredients, this author does not believe there are any for toothpaste or antibacterial cleansers; there may be for use in deodorants.
The “dirty dozen” is really some 2,200 materials including several of the most commonly used cosmetic ingredients. If formulators were to avoid using all these materials, products would be drastically different. Imagine lipsticks and other color cosmetics made with only the permitted colors lactoflavin, caramel, capsanthin, beetroot, anthocyanins, bromothymol blue and green; in fact, of these colorants, only caramel has been found by the FDA to be safe for use in cosmetics.20 Also imagine no longer developing hair dyes to sell to consumers, or banning all but two UV filters from sun product formulations.
Consider further: Is it possible to formulate cosmetics that consumers will buy that do not contain ingredients derived from an ethylene oxide reaction? Further, the foundation’s report missed all the other ingredients made from ethylene oxide, such as phenoxyethanol, glycol stearate, etc. Imagine what products would smell like without fragrances to mask odors; or, better yet, imagine the reaction from marketing when you present these newly formulated products.