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A lot of bath products contain MIT & CMIT found by The Consumer Council

2016 - 07 - 21

The Consumer Council tested 60 models of bath products and found that over half of the models contain 1,4-dioxane; 23 models contain allergy-causing MIT and / or CMIT, and the 7 models contain formaldehyde which might cause skin irritation. Some chemical allergy causing agents are also found in some products that claimed “All Natural” & “No Additives”.

1. 33 models were found to have I,4-Dioxane that may cause eye and respiratory tract irritations

In the 1,4-dioxane content test, 33 models were found to have a concentration varied from 1.1ppm to 16ppm.  According to the announcement of the China Food and Drug Administration and the "Safety and Technical Standards for Cosmetics" to be coming into effect at the end of this year, the 1,4-dioxane content limit for cosmetics is set at 30 mg/kg (or ppm).  Therefore, all models tested were in compliance with the standard.  European Union (EU) Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) was of the opinion that the safety level of 1,4-dioxane content in cosmetics should be 10ppm or less.  In other words, 3 models were found to have the content higher than the SCCS recommended level.

2. 23 models contained

Some consumers may have allergic reactions to certain preservatives.  The ones causing the most concern are "methylisothiazolinone" (MIT) and "methylchloroisothiazolinone" (CMIT). Mainland and EU cosmetics regulations stated that in cosmetics MIT level should not exceed 0.01% (100ppm) or CMIT/MIT mixture level should be less than 0.0015% (15ppm).  According to the EU cosmetics regulations effective since last July and the Mainland standard to be coming into effect, no additional MIT should be added to rinse-off products containing CMIT/MIT mixture.
The test results revealed that 23 models contained MIT and/or CMIT.  Among them, 14 models contained either CMIT or MIT at levels that complied with the Mainland and the EU regulations.  9 models were found to contain both CMIT and MIT, with 1 model having a relatively higher total content.

3. 7 models were found to contain free formaldehyde with content lower than the maximum   allowed concentration stipulated in Mainland's Hygienic Standard for Cosmetics and EU Cosmetics Regulation

Formaldehyde is a chemical that is used widely across many products in our environment and was declared the Contact Allergen of the Year for 2015 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS).
The test results revealed that  2 models that claim to be suitable for babies and adults contain free formaldehyde . Studies show levels of free formaldehyde in cosmetic products as low as 200 to 300 parts per million (ppm) (0.02% to 0.03%) inducing dermatitis upon short-term use on normal skin.

4. Other skin irritants

SLS and SLES is an anionic detergent and surfactant which is an inexpensive and very effective foaming agent that commonly found in personal care products. Residual of SLS and SLES on skin might cause skin irritation, itchiness and dryness.

Safety Tips for bath products selection:

Read the product ingredient information carefully.  Consumers who are prone to skin allergies, suffering from eczema and other skin problems should avoid using products containing MIT, CMIT and ingredients that might release formaldehyde;
After using the product for the first time, pay special attention to any abnormal physical reactions, such as itchiness and rash.  In case of adverse skin reactions, consumers are recommended to read the ingredient information on the product label to identify substances that could cause allergies and avoid purchasing products containing such ingredients in the future.

*Source:  The Consumer Council (https://www.consumer.org.hk/ws_en/)

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