A preservative used in cosmetics and wet wipes can no longer be considered safe at permitted levels, according to the European Commission’s consumer safety committee.
The preservative, methylisothiazolinone (MI), has been approved for use in cosmetics here and in the EU at concentrations of 100ppm (parts per million). But a review by the EC’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety found no safe concentrations of MI had been demonstrated for its use in leave-on cosmetics or wet wipes.
For rinse-off products, such as shampoos, the committee considered concentrations should be reduced from 100ppm to 15ppm.
Sensitisation to MI was described by the committee as an “increasing problem”. MI’s use in cosmetics and sunscreens has been associated with allergic reactions and contact dermatitis. Reactions have also been seen in very young children.
The Environmental Protection Authority, responsible for the Cosmetic Products Group Standard that sets allowable levels for preservatives, said the findings will be taken into account when the standard is next updated. It was last amended in 2012.