There is a growing trend of questioning the need for preservatives, which is a concern for many in the personal care industry. Therefore, this column will look more deeply at preservatives and, more accurately, the need for them. Let me begin by stating very clearly that I believe it is irresponsible to supply a cosmetic product that is not adequately protected from contamination by microorganisms, be they bacteria, viruses, yeasts, molds and fungi, or any other microbial contaminant. While not all microbes are pathogenic or capable of causing disease, many are. It is self-evident that the consumer does not want to place a culture of disease-causing microbes onto their skin under any circumstances. In addition, even contamination by non-pathogenic microbes can lead to product spoilage, which presents as off-odors, phase separation and discoloration. Such products would be unpleasant to use and might not work properly.