The implementation of a ban by the European Union of a fragrance ingredient it described as “reprotoxic,” has been welcomed by a global environmental group.
As of this week products across the EU are now prohibited from using butylphenyl methylpropional, or lilial.
In 2020, the European Commission classified lilial as a “reprotoxic,” a chemical that adversely affects fertility and foetal development, ruling it “cannot be considered as safe.” The EU set the March 1 deadline for all cosmetics with lilial to be pulled off store shelves.
The Environmental Working Group(EWG) a non-profit, non-partisan organisation that encourages people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment said the ban was welcomed and called of the rest of the world to follow suit.
“The use of personal care products like cosmetics and fine fragrance is a critical but underappreciated source of exposure to chemicals linked to reproductive harm,” said Carla Burns, EWG senior director, cosmetic science. “Ingredients that may harm fertility have no business being used in cosmetics.”
The group explained lilial’s use is not limited to personal care products. It’s also used as a fragrance ingredient in household cleaners and detergents, but the EU ban affects personal care products only.
Lilial is used to add floral notes in a fragrance mixture. It also can be listed on product ingredient labels as p-BMHCA. At the end of 2020, researchers at EWG added lilial to the EWG VERIFIED™ program’s list of unacceptable product ingredients. The International Fragrance Association also prohibits the use of lilial in cosmetics.
“The U.S. cosmetics industry is notoriously underregulated,” added the EWG. “For more than 80 years, Congress has neglected to increase the Food and Drug Administration’s authority over cosmetics, limiting the agency’s ability to ensure the safety of personal care products.”
“The public shouldn’t have to worry that they’re putting their own health at risk by doing something as routine and mundane as applying personal care products,” said Scott Faber, EWG senior vice president for government affairs. “Congress often focuses on the threat that will kill you tomorrow, rather than the threat that will kill you in 20 years.”
“The only way to adequately protect the public from toxic chemicals like lilial being used as ingredients in cosmetics is for Congress to step up and change the law or for states to ban this dangerous chemical,” Faber added.