In March 2019 researchers from China and Mexico published their overview on the use of toxic substances in cosmetic formulations. Currently an increasing number of compounds are being used in the form of preservatives, fragrances, etc. to improve the performance, quality, value and lifespan of cosmetics. However, many of these chemical additives pose a toxic effect to the human body and can produce anything from a mild hypersensitivity to life-threatening anaphylaxis or lethal intoxication. The large variety of toxic substances include 1,4-dioxane formaldehyde, paraformaldehyde, benzalkonium chloride, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, trace heavy metals, parabens derivatives, phthalates, isothiazolinone derivatives (methylchloroiso-thiazolinone, and methylisothiazolinone), methyldibromo glutaronitrile, and phenoxy-ethanol. These substances can, for example, cause cells to mutate leading to different forms of cancer, affect the structure or function of the central and/or peripheral nervous system, and stimulate the development and maintenance of female secondary sex characteristics. The usage of these substances is becoming an increasing public health issue. Researchers therefore called for academia, consultancy firms, governmental organizations, and cosmetic companies to provide up-to-date information to consumers regarding the possible health-related side-effects of cosmetics and for there to be more industry-motivated initiatives to produce green, sustainable and eco-friendly products.
Bilal M, Iqbal HMN. An insight into toxicity and human-health-related adverse consequences of cosmeceuticals – A review. Sci Total Environ. 2019 Mar 20;670:555-568