How to ensure the safety of cosmetics

November 30, 2016

In recent years, environmental groups have been calling out cosmetic preservatives as suspected endocrine disruptors, cancer-causing agents and skin irritants. The campaigns have resulted in new restrictions on certain preservatives. But, as reported in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the shrinking list of approved preservatives is having unintended consequences.

Marc S. Reisch, a senior correspondent at C&EN, notes that preservatives play a key role in cosmetics. They prevent mold, fungi and bacteria from growing in creams, makeup and shampoos. Left unchecked, contaminants can spoil products or cause skin or eye infections or worse. Regulators are working through claims on individual compounds to determine whether they're safe at various concentrations. In the meantime, some companies are phasing out or lowering levels of preservatives -- even those that regulators have approved, including certain parabens.

By and large, cosmetics remain safe today. But the scrutiny has resulted in a shorter list of preservatives for cosmetic formulators to choose from. And replacing the ones that are stricken has become very challenging. Developing a new preservative can take years. And, in Europe, animal testing for cosmetics is banned, making it even more difficult for researchers catering to that market to fully analyze novel alternatives for safety. Some industry experts are concerned that fewer preservatives could allow bacteria to develop resistance and that lower concentrations will curtail products' shelf-life.
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With nearly 157,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact us: TwitterFacebook

American Chemical Society

Related Bacteria Articles from Brightsurf:

Siblings can also differ from one another in bacteria
A research team from the University of Tübingen and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) is investigating how pathogens influence the immune response of their host with genetic variation.

How bacteria fertilize soya
Soya and clover have their very own fertiliser factories in their roots, where bacteria manufacture ammonium, which is crucial for plant growth.

Bacteria might help other bacteria to tolerate antibiotics better
A new paper by the Dynamical Systems Biology lab at UPF shows that the response by bacteria to antibiotics may depend on other species of bacteria they live with, in such a way that some bacteria may make others more tolerant to antibiotics.

Two-faced bacteria
The gut microbiome, which is a collection of numerous beneficial bacteria species, is key to our overall well-being and good health.

Microcensus in bacteria
Bacillus subtilis can determine proportions of different groups within a mixed population.

Right beneath the skin we all have the same bacteria
In the dermis skin layer, the same bacteria are found across age and gender.

Bacteria must be 'stressed out' to divide
Bacterial cell division is controlled by both enzymatic activity and mechanical forces, which work together to control its timing and location, a new study from EPFL finds.

How bees live with bacteria
More than 90 percent of all bee species are not organized in colonies, but fight their way through life alone.

The bacteria building your baby
Australian researchers have laid to rest a longstanding controversy: is the womb sterile?

Hopping bacteria
Scientists have long known that key models of bacterial movement in real-world conditions are flawed.

Read More: Bacteria News and Bacteria Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to