CES defends silicone use in personal care

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chemistry, Value added, Polymer

The European trade body for silicones has hit back against claims
that the chemical family is threatened in personal care by
alternatives and alleged environmental risks.

For example, BASF has recently launched a multifunctional polymer for hair care formulations, which it claims removes the need for potentially hazardous silicones. The secretary general of the Centre Européen des Silicones (CES), Dr Michel De Poortere, dismissed this suggestion. Extensive research into safety ​ De Poortere told CosmeticsDesign.com: "We have recently compiled an inventory of 5,000 studies on silicones to help us understand their properties and have come to the conclusion that they are perfectly safe." ​ However, the Canadian government recently proposed Cyclopentasiloxane D5 for the toxic list. The building block of silicone is commonly used in personal care and was adjudged by the authorities to be an environmental hazard to water-based organisms. De Poortere said the CES is working with the Canadian authorities to persuade them that the widely used ingredient is safe. He also said onlookers should be careful not to generalize about silicones and that the category contains a broad selection of chemicals with a variety of properties. The role of silicones and effectiveness of rivals​ With regards to the effectiveness of alternatives to silicones, De Poortere said he had seen no evidence that they are as effective and dismissed the idea that they pose a threat to the industry. Silicones have a variety of uses in personal care applications. They add a silky smooth feel to formulations but have other functions including wetting and spreading qualities that ensure smooth and even application. According to a recently-published study from the CES on the socio-economic contribution of the silicone industry, total sales in Europe to cosmetic manufacturers amounted to €100m in 2006. De Poortere said silicones also boast significant added value in personal care and that the financial value of silicones in finished products is as high as €1000m.

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