Meet D&C Black #2: A New, Old Cosmetic Color Additive

Carbon black has not been permitted for cosmetic use in the United States since 1976. After 17 years of effort by the Cosmetic, Toiletries and Fragrance Association (CTFA), on August 29, 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved CTFA’s petition for the use in cosmetics of one form of carbon black: high purity furnace black. FDA named the allowed colorant D&C Black #2 to emphasize that the material is subject to batch certifi cation. CTFA and the industry consider this approval to be signifi cant, in that a formerly de-listed material has been demonstrated safe to the satisfaction of FDA.

Carbon black is an ultrafi ne pigment produced by the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbon gas or oil. Five types have been produced, classifi ed according to the method of manufacture: furnace black, channel (impingement) black, acetylene black, thermal black and lampblack. Furnace black is produced by combustion of oil injected into a gas fl ame zone in an enclosed reactor. Channel black is the result of gas burned in iron channels, on which the pigment is deposited. Carbon black is used as a colorant and stabilizer in tires and as a colorant in plastics and coatings.

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