The expert panel - containing scientists and physicians nominated by consumer groups, government and the industry - reviews and assesses cosmetic ingredient safety data and has said it plans to re-investigate formaldehyde.
According to director of the CIR Alan Anderson, the panel is planning on taking another look at the substance as its use in hair smoothing products has not been investigated before.
“Regarding the time frame, we are going to discuss it at our December 12-13 meeting. Presuming the expert panel reopens it, we will do a scientific literature review on it and some time next year would have an amended safety report,” Anderson told CosmeticsDesign.com USA.
The move follows complaints relating to the Brazilian Blowout hair smoothing product, manufactured by Brazilian-headquartered Cadiveu.
Last month, both Health Canada and the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration claimed the hair smoothing solution contained levels of formaldehyde that were significantly higher than the 0.2 percent permitted in cosmetics when used as a preservative.
In addition both administrations claimed they had received consumer reports of burning eyes, nose and throat and even hair loss associated with the use of the product.
Cadiveu USA which distributes the product has said it does not contain formaldehyde as a functional ingredient and said the confusion is over the presence of methylene glycol in the formula.
Anderson explained that methylene glycol and formaldehyde exist in equilibrium, and that adding methylene glycol to water will inevitably lead to the formation of some formaldehyde and vice versa.
It is this link between the use of methylene glycol as a cosmetics ingredient and the associated presence of formaldehyde that needs to be investigated.
According to Anderson, there are no safety assessments for methylene glycol’s use in cosmetics.
“As best we can tell, until 2010 methylene glycol was not listed in the international cosmetics ingredient dictionary as an ingredient; although it is now,” he said.
The international cosmetics ingredient dictionary is not an exhaustive list of cosmetics ingredients but rather was intended to address the nomenclature question, he explained: “If you were to use it what would you call it.”