The use of aluminium in antiperspirants, toothpastes and lipsticks, in concentrations complying with the limits set by European regulations, is safe for human health, according to the preliminary opinion adopted by the Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety (CSSC), during its plenary assembly on October 30 and 31, 2019 . The text is open for comments until February 17, 2020.
Aluminium is a known systemic toxicant at high doses. Therefore, the safety of its use in cosmetics, especially in antiperspirants, has been the subject of numerous controversies and alarming media reports. Indeed, some studies have suggested that cosmetics may be a more important source of exposure than food.
The CSSC, a committee gathering seventeen independent experts in chemistry and toxicology, said in a previous opinion in 2014 that the scientific data available were insufficient to assess the amounts of aluminium absorbed by the human body during the use of cosmetics . In the meantime, new studies have been carried out.
No dermal absorption, even through freshly shaved skin
On the basis of the latest available data, the CSSC now considers that the daily application of cosmetic products is not a significant source of exposure of the human body to aluminium. Indeed, according to the committee, aluminium is hardly absorbed by the skin, including freshly shaved skin, and is not stored in the skin.
Commenting on the CSSC’s opinion, the French Federation of Beauty Companies (FEBEA) explains that taking into account all routes of exposure (i.e. oral, skin and respiratory absorption) linked to cosmetic products, including antiperspirant products, the calculated safety margin is always greater than 2,000. "This means that the amount of aluminium to which the consumer is exposed [through the use of cosmetic products] is at least 2000 times lower than the dose identified as not causing any toxicological effects.”