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Chemical Regulation

Preservative butylparaben targeted for control in EU

by Cheryl Hogue
July 4, 2020 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 98, Issue 26

Drawing shows the chemical structure of butylparaben.

Butylparaben, widely used as an antimicrobial preservative in cosmetics, is a candidate for tight regulation in the European Union. On June 25, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) added butylparaben and three industrial chemicals to its list of candidates for use authorization. If ECHA determines that a chemical requires authorization, companies subsequently have to apply to the EU for permission to use it. ECHA says it added butylparaben to the candidates list because it is an endocrine disrupter. The three other substances are on the list because they are toxic for reproduction, ECHA says. They are 1-vinylimidazole, a monomer; 2-methylimidazole, a catalyst; and dibutylbis(2,4-pentanedionato-O,O′)tin, which is used as a catalyst and as an additive in the production of plastics. Christel Musset, ECHA’s director of hazard assessment, says in the announcement that “chemicals on the candidate list are among the most regulated in the EU, and our aim is to gradually phase them out.” Listing the chemicals on the candidate list means that suppliers of articles containing any of the compounds at a concentration of 0.1% by weight must give sufficient information to customers and consumers to allow safe use.


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