Testing for phthalates in cosmetics, beauty products and toiletries with robust analysis to ensure consumer safety, mitigate risks associated with prohibited substances and to meet regulatory expectations

Health concerns associated with phthalates in cosmetics have driven a need for accurate and robust analytical testing for these substances in beauty products to reduce risks to consumer health. Phthalates are substances used to make more flexible plastics and consumer products including toys, packaging, lubrication products. In cosmetics, they were used to improve functional properties such as less brittle nail polishes (dibutyl phthalate (DBP)), or more flexible films formed by hair spray (dimethyl phthalate (DMP)) as a component of fragrances (diethyl phthalate (DEP)). Phthalates may also possibly migrate from packaging materials into the cosmetics formulation.

Regulatory Context for Phthalates Testing in Beauty Products
In Europe, several phthalates are included in the List of Substances Prohibited in Cosmetic Products from Annex II of the Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 although the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products Intended for Consumers (SCCNFP) is of the opinion that the safety profile of diethyl phthalate (DEP) supports its use in cosmetic products at current levels as concurred by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) (doc. n° SCCP/1016/06). In the US, the FDA state that “at present, FDA does not have evidence that phthalates, as used in cosmetics, pose a safety risk” however the FDA does require an ingredient declaration on cosmetic products sold at the retail level to consumers. The last FDA survey of the use of phthalates in cosmetics demonstrated their use has decreased considerably.

Phthalates Testing for Cosmetic Products and Raw Materials
Our global cosmetics analytical laboratories perform phthalate trace level detection analysis and screening of samples. Our scientists are adept at method development and testing, delivering accurate and robust testing specific for your cosmetic sample matrices using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) approaches.

We can perform testing for both raw materials and finished products supporting your quality control requirements for production, ingredient sourcing, and product development activities. Screening studies can be designed to detect the presence of phthalates and we can also determine the levels of the phthalates present.

Our scientists use GC-MS to determine levels of the phthalates substances prohibited by the cosmetics regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 including di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), bis(2-Methoxyethyl) phthalate (DMEP), Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), and many others.

Phthalates Testing for Cosmetics Packaging
The European Cosmetic and Perfumery Association (COLIPA) has highlighted those low levels of phthalates may potentially leach from plastic packaging into cosmetic products. Migration of phthalates may happen during the processing of the raw materials or from the packaging of the finished product. We apply similar approaches for the analysis of plastic materials intended for food contact applications to determine the presence and levels of phthalates in plastic packaging material or coatings of packaged products.

Alongside our analysis services, we also provide regulatory consulting and toxicology assessments relevant to multiple regional or national cosmetics regulations worldwide including cosmetic safety assessments. In addition, cosmetic products should be correctly labelled and packaged with appropriate INCI (International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients) ingredients listing and warnings. We provide general toxicological reports for ingredients, preparation, and assessment of cosmetic data, INCI ingredient labelling, and Safety Data Sheet (SDS) authoring.

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