Suspected cancer-causing substance still found in personal care products

BEUC NEWS - 08.01.2016

An investigation by BEUC’s Danish member has revealed that the suspected cancer-causing substance polyaminopropyl biguanide (PHMB) is still found in cosmetics such as creams and makeup removers – even though it has been banned by EU law. Since August 2015, the Danish Consumer Council has been checking the ingredient lists of cosmetics and identified 36 products which contain this substance. Several of these products are from well-known brands such as Garnier, Vichy and La Roche-Posay which are owned by cosmetics giant L’Oréal.

PHMB is used as a preservative in cosmetics. The substance however is allergenic and has been classified by the EU in 2013 as a suspected carcinogen to humans. In June 2014, the EU’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety was unanimous in its conclusion that PHMB is not safe for consumers. As a result, the EU chose to ban PHMB’s use in personal care products from January 2015.

BEUC wants cosmetic products to be safe for consumers. It is unacceptable that manufacturers continue to use PHMB when there are clear health risks for consumers. BEUC demands that all cosmetics products containing PHMB are withdrawn from the market. We also call on manufacturers and Member State market surveillance authorities to take action to protect consumers.