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The CIR reaffirms the safety of parabens used in cosmetics

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), which gathers scientists, dermatologists, pharmacologists and toxicologists, under the aegis of the Personal Care Products Council, the U.S. trade association representing the cosmetics industry, reaffirmed last week at a public meeting that parabens, a family of preservatives used in cosmetics and personal care products, are safe.

“The cosmetic industry formally requested that CIR re-examine the safety of parabens as they are used in cosmetics, and we are gratified that the panel has done so and confirmed the safety of these ingredients,” said Halyna Breslawec, chief scientist for the Personal Care Products Council.

Indeed, in December 2011, the Personal Care Products Council requested CIR to reexamine its review of parabens in light of two recent opinions by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS). The SCCS concluded, among other things, that some parabens are safe at current use levels (methyl paraben and ethyl paraben) but recommended that levels of others used be reduced (butylparaben and propylparaben).

At its March 5-6, 2012 meeting, the CIR carefully reviewed the SCCS opinions and concluded that there were little additional new data concerning parabens. The panel voted to reaffirm its earlier conclusions that parabens are safe for use as cosmetic ingredients. “CIR initially reviewed the safety of parabens in 1984, and since then has continually examined newly available data related to the safety of these ingredients. Its last comprehensive report was published in 2008,” explains the Personal Care Products Council in a release.

A summary of the CIR Expert Panel findings for the March 5-6 meeting is expected to be posted on the group’s Web site ( within a few weeks.

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