Petrolatum, petroleum

SCA endorses products with the Toxic-Free Tick, that contain less than 1% Petrolatum in leave-on products and 2.5% in wash-off products. Where a brand tests their products and/or the ingredient of concern is tested for carcinogenic contaminants, test reports confirming that the product and/or ingredients are free-from carcinogens can be submitted; SCA will endorse the product(s) containing toxic-free petrolatum with unrestricted usage provided proof of testing is provided.

When properly refined petrolatum is considered safe. However, petroleum derivatives are often not fully refined to remove the carcinogenic impurities. This means that it can be contaminated with highly toxic impurities called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Petroleum is odorless & colorless, it has a very long shelf life making it appealing to cosmetic manufacturers, it is also inexpensive.

CLASSIFICATION

CAS No: 8009-03-8, 63231-60-7, 64742-26-3, 64742-33-2, 64742-42-3, 64742-43-4, 64742-51-4, 64742-60-5, 64742-61-6, 64743-01-7, 92062-09-4, and 97489-05-9. Also known as petroleum jelly, red or white petrolatum; and "Synonym(s): MINERAL GREASE (PETROLATUM) ; MINERAL JELLY; PETROLATUM AMBER; PETROLATUM WHITE; PETROLEUM JELLY; YELLOW PETROLATUM" - EWG

RESEARCH - WHAT DO THE EXPERTS SAY

"Petrolatum, or petroleum jelly, derived from petroleum, is often used in personal care products as a moisturizing agent. When properly refined, petrolatum has no known health concerns. However, petrolatum is often not fully refined in the US, which means it can be contaminated with toxic chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)." - Campaign For Safe Cosmetics USA

"When properly refined, petrolatum has no known health concerns. However, petrolatum is often not fully refined in the US, which means it can be contaminated with toxic chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These qualities make petrolatum a popular ingredient in skincare products and cosmetics." - SafeCosmetics.org

  • NICNAS Human Health Tier II assessment November 2014; Hydrocarbon, paraffin and slack waxes. No restrictions on use.

  • Restricted in the US; With the exception of petrolatum (CAS No. 8009-03-8), microcrystalline wax (CAS No. 63231-60-7) and hydrogenated microcrystalline wax (CAS No. 64742-60-5), there is currently no documented use of these chemicals in cosmetic products in the United States of America (USA).

  • International; The chemicals with CAS Nos 8009-03-8 and 64742-61-6, 64743-01-7 and 92062-09-4 are listed on the following, except if the full refining history is known, and it can be shown that the substance from which it is produced is not a carcinogen (Galleria Chemica):

  • EU Cosmetics Regulation 1223/2009 Annex II—List of substances prohibited in cosmetic products; and

  • New Zealand Cosmetic Products Group Standard—Schedule 4: Components cosmetic products must not contain;

  • Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Cosmetic Directive Annex II Part 1: List of substances which must not form part of the composition of cosmetic products." - NICNAS

  • The Dirty Dozen

WHAT IS PETROLATUM?

Derived from petroleum; it is known to contain CARCINOGENS; it must be processed to remove these cancer causing impurities. "The problem is that variations in processing, and the lack of regulation in testing petroleum derivatives varies greatly. SCA campaigns for mandatory testing of petroleum derivatives to confirm that carcinogens have been removed before being permitted for use in cosmetics including lipsticks, balms, baby skin care, ointments and many other products." - Amina Kitching, Founder of SCA. "No data are available for the chemicals." - NICNAS Australian Government Department of Health, National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme.

RESOURCES & RECOMMENDED ARTICLES:

Amina Kitching