Organizations recommend evaluating individual ingredients when assessing the safety of personal care or cosmetic products. The goal of this study was to present a screening-level safety assessment methodology to evaluate the safety of a product by identifying individual ingredients, determining their frequency of use in on-market products, and examining published safe-level-of-use information for each ingredient. As a case study, we evaluated WEN by Chaz Dean (WCD) cleansing conditioners since there have been claims of adverse health effects associated with product use. We evaluated 30 ingredients in three on-market WCD cleansing conditioners. We then analyzed the National Library of Medicine’s Household Products Database and the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, two of the largest publicly available databases, for other on-market personal care and cosmetic products that contained these ingredients. Safe-level-of-use information for each ingredient was obtained by reviewing peer-reviewed literature, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) generally recognized as safe (GRAS) database, available Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) publications, and available product safety publications. The results of this analysis showed that more than 20,000 personal care and cosmetic products contained one or more of the evaluated ingredients used in WCD cleaning conditioners. Published safety information was available for 21 of the 30 evaluated ingredients: seven identified ingredients were designated as GRAS by the FDA and 16 ingredients had safe-level-of-use information available from the CIR. This study presents a screening-level safety assessment methodology that can serve as an initial screening tool to evaluate the safety of an ingredient intended for use in personal care and cosmetic products before a product is launched onto the market. This study provides evidence that the evaluated WCD cleansing conditioner ingredients are commonly used in other personal care and cosmetic products, and ingredients with available safety information are generally considered safe for the intended use. The scope of this analysis is limited to frequency of use information and available toxicological data. Additional testing including in silico, in vitro,
and clinical studies may be needed to evaluate the potential toxicity of an ingredient.
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