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Dermatitis linked to preservative in moisturizers.

Dermatitis Linked To Preservative In Moisturizers

A preservative used internationally in moisturizing cosmetics is responsible for a "continuing epidemic" of allergic skin reactions in both the United States and Europe, according to Dutch and British researchers.

The preservative, known as Kathon CG, is made by the Philadelphia firm of Rohm and Haas, and has been used in cosmetics for about 10 years at very low concentrations (3 to 15 parts per million) to inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and fungi. It is employed in shampoos, body gels, bubble baths, skin creams, and lotions. But recently it has been found to be a "major cause of cosmetic allergy," said Dutch dermatologist Anton C. DeGroot, M.D., of Carolus & Willem-Alexander Hospital, Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands.

In 15 different U.S. and European studies, when patients were tested for allergic dermatitis, the product was implicated in 2.9% of cases in Finland, 5.7% in Germany, and up to 8.4% in Italy. The U.S. rate was 3.6%, the researchers reported. "Most cases have been caused by cosmetics of the leave-on variety, such as moisturizing creams," said Dr. DeGroot. "Wash-off products such as shampoos can also cause it, but infrequently," he noted. Dr. DeGroot and his colleagues blamed both the manufacturer and government authorities for the problem.

In addition, many cases of sensitization resulted from some manufacturers exceeding the 5 to 15 parts per million recommended by the manufacturer, said Dr. DeGroot. The research team has recommended that "the use of Kathon CG in cosmetic products of the leave-on variety should be abandoned or prohibited by health authorities." In the United States, the cosmetic industry's Expert Panel on Cosmetic Ingredient Review also concluded that "Data are insufficient to judge the major ingredients of Kathon CG as safe at any concentration in leave-on products. THE LANCET 2/11/89; II:314-316.
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Title Annotation:Kathon CG found to be cause of cosmetic allergy
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Sep 22, 1990
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