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Wednesday, June 17, 2015Publications

Mineral oils in cosmetics: no health risks (BfR)

© Thinkstock/L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has just published its safety assessment on mineral oils in cosmetic products. According to these experts, 'considering all available scientific evidence, no health risks are to be expected from absorption via the skin'.

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BfR Opinion No 014/2015 of 26 May 2015

Cosmetic products can contain mineral oils. These are naturally occurring, complex mixtures of hydrocarbons of various structures and sizes. They are differentiated into MOSH (mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons) and MOAH (mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons). The latter can contain potentially carcinogenic substances such as polycyclic aromatic compounds. According to the EU cosmetics regulation, mineral oils are only permitted in cosmetic products if the full refining history is known and either the starting material is free of carcinogens or the distillate was tested for carcinogenic properties using specific methods. This is intended to prevent the use of mineral oils which contain substances causing adverse health effects.

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has investigated for quite some time the oral intake of MOAH which can migrate from packaging material into food. The institute has now performed a risk assessment of the dermal absorption of MOSH and MOAH from mineral oils used in cosmetic products. As no representative data on MOSH and MOAH content in cosmetic products have been available so far, the BfR has conducted random spot checks on various cosmetic products. In its analyses, the institute measured MOAH concentrations of up to …

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