The European Commission has published two Citizen’s Summaries fact sheets covering cosmetics.
One covers the subject of allergen fragrances in cosmetic products and highlights the potential allergic reaction issues which may affect EU citizens; between 1 and 3% of EU citizens exhibit allergic reactions to certain fragrance compounds.
The other is on the subject of methylene glycol in hair-straightening products. This is an area of wide concern given that methylene glycol exists in equilibrium with formaldehyde (being, put simply, a reaction product of formaldehyde and water). Therefore, although methylene glycol itself is not toxic, it breaks down readily in many conditions to form formaldehyde which is both toxic and allergenic. It is therefore now considered to be equivalent to formaldehyde in this respect, and limits on how much can be used in hair-straightening products must be introduced. Measurement of methylene glycol, considering its tendency to dissociate into formaldehyde and water, is normally carried out by conversion to formaldehyde; this is an area of work being carried out in LGC at present.
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