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Canadian government bans two chemicals from cosmetics

By Guy Montague-Jones , 05-Feb-2009
Last updated on 05-Feb-2009 at 20:08 GMT

Health concerns have prompted Canadian authorities to ban two chemicals from cosmetics as part of a major review of potentially dangerous substances.

The Canadian Government has added both isoprene and epichlorohydrin to the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist to prevent them from entering beauty products in the future.

Isoprene and epichlorohydrin were in the latest batch of 16 substances to be reviewed in the Chemical Management Plan but the decision to add them to the list is unlikely to send shockwaves through the industry.

Mike Patton from Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association told CosmeticsDesign.com that the trade body had contacted its members and found no record of either chemical being used in cosmetic products in Canada.

Health Canada and Environment Canada are passing judgment on 200 ‘high-priority’ chemicals using health and environmental criteria and are publishing the results in batches. The process will draw to a close in 2010.

Other cosmetic ingredients came under scrutiny

Of the 16 chemicals under review, alarm bells were also rung over two other substances used in cosmetics. Siloxanes D4 and D5, found in personal care products such as deodorants and moisturizers, were judged to present environmental risks.

While not thought to endanger human health they were classified as substances of concern to the environment because of fears that they may threaten wildlife.

Regulations expected to control use of the silicones

The government said regulations will be developed to set a concentration limit for D4 and D5 in products and for wastewater generated during the manufacturing process.

Commenting on the findings, Minister for the Environment, Jim Prentice said: “This work means that harmful substances will be stopped from entering the environment and becoming a problem for future generations.”

However, Silicones Environmental Health and Safety Council of North America hit back against the finding saying the federal government will conduct further studies and predicted this research will find the chemicals safe.

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