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2D structural formula of Butylated hydroxyanisole


What is it?

Not to be confused with “Beta hydroxy acid (BHA)”

“Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is an antioxidant consisting of a mixture of two isomeric organic compounds, 2-tert-butyl-4-hydroxyanisole and 3-tert-butyl-4-hydroxyanisole, with the chemical formula C11H16O2.” Wikipedia

What are the effects?

This ingredient belongs to the groups:

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) registers that “this substance is toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects, causes serious eye irritation, is suspected of causing cancer, is suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child, is harmful if swallowed and causes skin irritation.”

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (previously the Breast Cancer Fund) list BHA as an endocrine disruptor, expected to cause organ-system toxicity, may be toxic to reproduction, possibly causing cancer, and may cause respiratory irritation. BHA is on their Red List.

How is it used?

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is mainly used as a preservative and antioxidant. It can be found in a wide range of products, including medicines, food, food packaging, animal feed, lubricants coating, rubber and petroleum products.

BHA is used as a preservative also in cosmetics products⋆ that contain oils and fats, such as creams, lip products and fragrances. BHA is also used as a fragrance ingredient.

We use the European Commissions definition of Cosmetics:
“Cosmetics range from everyday hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste to luxury beauty items including perfumes and makeup”.

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