Cosmetics: ANSES wants to regulate hexyl salicylate

Used in cosmetics and household products, hexyl salicylate can cause allergies and may harm the unborn child. The National Medicines Safety Agency requests that this be mentioned on the products.

Hexyl salicylate is a scent substance used in many products such as cosmetics, including shampoos, soaps and other toiletries as well as in household cleaners and detergents which can cause different health effects: allergic skin reactions up to damage to the development of the fetus. Identified as potentially toxic to humans, this substance is currently not subject to regulatory framework at European level. Also, in order to protect the health of consumers, ANSES assessed the effects associated with exposure to this substance with the aim of classifying it at European level.

Following its assessment, ANSES confirms the ability of the substance to cause allergic skin reactions as well as toxic effects for the development of the fetus (malformations, developmental delays, etc.). “Indeed, for the latter, data exist on structurally similar substances, salicylic acid and salicylate. methyl already classified in terms of their toxicity to fetal development. ANSES therefore proposed that the substance hexyl salicylate be classified in the same way in the European regulation “underlines the Agency.

If this proposal is validated, hexyl salicylate should be labeled as follows on cosmetic products containing it:

  • “May cause an allergic skin reaction; category 1 (H317)”
  • “Suspected of damaging the unborn child; Category 2 (H361d)”

This proposal has been put for public consultation on the website of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) February 8, 2021 for a period of two months, in order to give all stakeholders the opportunity to present their positions, their scientific arguments or the additional information at their disposal.

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