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ACS News Service Weekly PressPac: Wed May 04 16:42:03 EDT 2011

New woes for silicones in cosmetics and personal care products

Storm Over Silicone
Chemical & Engineering News

At a time when cosmetics, shampoos, skin creams, and other personal care products already are going green — with manufacturers switching to plant-derived extracts and other natural ingredients — government regulators in Canada are adding to the woes of the silicone-based ingredients long used in these products. That’s the topic of an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS’ weekly newsmagazine.

C&EN Senior Correspondent Marc S. Reisch points out that manufacturers have used silicones for decades in an array of personal care products. Antiperspirants and underarm deodorants account for about half the entire U.S. personal care market for silicones. Manufacturers voluntarily stopped using one type of silicone ingredient in personal care products over the last decade. Now government regulators in Canada are proposing regulations limiting use of another widely used type of silicone ingredient. They cite concerns that the ingredients might built up in the environment and harm wildlife.

The article notes that some manufacturers, despite the concerns, are sticking with the traditional ingredients, termed cyclic methylsiloxanes. Others are using the concerns as a basis for jumping on the natural ingredient bandwagon and reformulating their products with other silicones or as “silicone-free.”

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