23 cosmetic products found to contain prohibited toxic substances

Up to 1,000 cosmetic and hygiene products common in perfumeries and supermarkets contain some “undesirable” chemical substance. There have even been 23 products with prohibited ingredients.

The exhaustive report, carried out by the French consumer association UFC-Que Choisir, denounces the presence of toxic substances in cosmetic products, including at least 12 compounds of concern as “endocrine disruptors” (potentially carcinogenic), allergens and irritants. The extensive list includes well-known international brands that are also marketed in Spain.


The UFC association denounces that it has found 23 cosmetic products that include  ‘strictly prohibited” substances in their formulation in the European Union, such as is buty paraben, found in powder makeup. It is “a proven and banned endocrine disruptor for more than two years,” explains the French association.

Other products contain methylisothiazolinone (MIT) or methylchloro isothiazolin one (MCIT), also banned since July 2016 in the EU for leave-in formulas due to the risk of skin allergies, and which according to the UFC-Que Choisir association are “particularly common in products for the curly hair”.


The authors of the report especially denounce the “explosive cocktail” found in many of these cosmetic and hygiene proposals that include various endocrine disruptors in their formula.

“Children, adolescents and pregnant women should avoid them,” they advise, while citing some specific examples with names and surnames: “Huile Sêche Sublimante oil for dry skin from Le Petit Marseillais, Natur Protect deodorant from Sanex, Global toothpaste Blancheur by Sanogyl, Sculpt System Esthederm body milk, Klorane Hair Repair Cream Pomegranate Leave-in Day Cream or Deborah Milano lipstick, which accumulates up to four endocrine disruptors “.

In addition, they have warned of the marketing of creams for diaper rash such as Mitosyl, which includes a substance (hydroxybutylanisol or BHA) classified as “possible carcinogenic” by the International Agency for Research against Cancer.


The listing does an embarrassing review of products that are advertised as mild, hypoallergenic, or special to relieve itchiness when they actually contain allergens.

“Another common trap used in industrial cosmetics is to include the word ”organic” or natural, to clean the image of the product. They attract the customer, who demands products that are natural and ecological and associates the word ”organic” with substances that are not they can cause harm, “explains Kistiñe García, head of the campaign against hormonal pollutants at Ecologistas en Acción. But in reality, these products do not show any recognized certification of natural or organic production.

“The first problem we have with endocrine disruptors is that they are not legislated. There are not even criteria that identify which substance we consider to be an endocrine disruptor and which one we do not. There is no closed list of which substances we should avoid,” says Kistiñe García.

“We are facing a situation of enormous insecurity because the obligation to be looking at the ingredients of cosmetics and to know a series of complicated and rare words, with acronyms, etc. is being transferred to the consumer, but it is seen without tools. It would have to be the Administration that prohibited the cosmetic industry to include them. But there you enter into a real war, “he adds.

Kistiñe”s advice is to avoid industrial cosmetics, especially pregnant women and young children, because they are more vulnerable to endocrine disruptors.

“Dr. Marieta Fernández, a worldwide researcher on these issues, says that if we want to get pregnant it is advisable that we stop using industrial cosmetics with these substances a year before. Now the industry has eliminated parabens (which are disruptive and probably carcinogenic), but they continue to contain other endocrine disruptors such as phthalates. The vast majority – if not all industrial cosmetics – contain these substances. But there are many natural alternatives that are very easy to find and even to make at home “, concludes Kistiñe García.

For more information you can go to the website “Free of Hormonal Contaminants”, created by Ecologists in Action.

Similar complaints have been published in other countries: The Consumers and Users organization in Spain, Taenk (THINK Chemicals) in Denmark and The Endocrine Disruption Exchange in Great Britain.

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