BUTYLATED HYDROXYTOLUENE (BHT)
What is it?
What are the effects?
This substance belongs to the groups:
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) identifies that butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is “very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects.”
ChemSec’s SIN List, a database of chemicals likely to be banned or restricted in a near future, registers that “This substance has endocrine disrupting properties. In vivo studies of Butylated Hydroxytoluene has shown that the substance disrupts thyroid gland function and morphology. Reduced fertility, altered growth and development, impaired learning and motor behaviours have also been observed in vivo. In vitro studies further indicate interference with testis enzymes, steroid production, growth hormones and antiandrogenic acitivity.”
BHT is on the Red List* of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (previously the Breast Cancer Fund).
* “The Red List includes chemicals found in personal care products that pose serious, chronic health concerns including cancer, hormone disruption, and reproductive and developmental harm. The list also flags chemicals that are banned or have use restrictions by the U.S. or other world governments, ingredients that adversely impact worker health, and ingredients that are widely used in products marketed to women of color.” – Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
How is it used?
Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is used in various cosmetic products* as an antioxidant and fragrance ingredient. The substance can be found in products such as skin care, lotions, lipsticks, mascara, nail glue, makeup powders, eyeshadow, blushes, artificial nails, nail polishes, and nail adhesives.
BHT is widely used and can be found in a wide variety of products and materials, including food products and packaging, gasoline, animal feeds, fertilisers, fabrics, paper, furniture, washing and cleaning products, to mention a few.
The sin list has also found wider environmental contamination of this substance, “BHT was detected in agricultural irrigation water in Spain. In an Italian study BHT was detected in all samples of conventional milk and in 10 % of organic milk samples. It was also detected in Japanese mineral water in glass bottles, but not in plastic bottles. It was suggested that the compound derived from the bottle cap.”
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”.
Read about the other ingredients.
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