Caution over shampoos

A Hong Kong consumer watchdog has urged caution over the use of several Proctor & Gambol shampoos found to contain a harmful solvent.
Ti Gong

A Hong Kong consumer watchdog has urged caution over the use of several Proctor & Gambol shampoos found to contain a harmful solvent which exceeds limits recommended by the European Union.

Hong Kong’s Consumer Council said that while the concentrations of 1,4-dioxane fell within the 30 parts per million limit set on the Chinese mainland, it was urging people with sensitive skin to be extra cautious when choosing shampoo.

The limit of 1,4-dioxane recommended by the EU’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety is 10 parts per million.

Seven types of shampoo were found to have more than 10 ppm, although all had fewer than 30ppm, the Hong Kong watchdog said.

A total of 38 types of shampoo out of the 60 samples tested were found to contain 1,4-dioxane. Of the seven that had more than 10ppm, six were P&G products, including VS Sassoon, Pantene, Clairol, and Head and Shoulders.

The agency stressed, however, that none of the samples constituted an “immediate” health risk.

It said that while 1,4-dioxane can be easily washed away and poses no safety risk in normal use, it warned that some people might still experience skin irritation.

Because 1,4-dioxane is not an ingredient of cosmetic products it is not listed on labels.

Proctor & Gambol told China.com that the shampoo sample tested by Hong Kong’s consumer watchdog is in line with China’s Safety and Technical Standard for Cosmetics.

The company added that it did not voluntarily add 1,4-dioxane to its personal care products and the test carried out by the Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine shows that the concentration of 1,4-dioxane in its shampoos are less than 10ppm.

The 1,4-dioxane is a forbidden raw material in cosmetics but is often an unintentional impurity in cosmetics, detergents and shampoos and China’s existing regulation sets a ceiling of 30ppm for the substance.

The United States Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry suggests long-term contact of the liquid form with the skin may affect the liver and kidneys.


Special Reports
Top