What is it?

Calcium hydroxide (traditionally called slaked lime) is an inorganic compound. Calcium hydroxide formula is Ca(OH)2. It is a colorless crystal or white powder and is obtained when calcium oxide (called lime or quicklime) is mixed, or slaked with water.” – Calcium hydroxide Wikipedia

Calcium hydroxide hazards

This substance belongs to the groups:

So which are the calcium hydroxide dangers?

The main calcium hydroxide side effect is skin irritation.  For that reason, it is also restricted for use in cosmetic products within the EU.

Calcium hydroxide is classified as an “occupational hazard” is also 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.”

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) identifies that calcium hydroxide “causes serious eye damage, causes skin irritation and may cause respiratory irritation.”

As mentioned above, the chemical is restricted for use in cosmetics in the EU. The “Maximum concentration in ready for use preparation” is set to 7% (as calcium hydroxide) by CosIng. CosIng is the European Commission’s database for information on cosmetic substances and ingredients.

Calcium hydroxide uses

What is calcium hydroxide used for?

Calcium hydroxide as a ph adjuster is often used in various cosmetics* due to its alkaline properties. It is also soemtimes used to pickle vegetables and process different drinks. That is why some might recognize calcium hydroxide common names in the kitchen better: edible lime, hydrated lime or slaked lime.

Some calcium hydroxide products include:

  • hair relaxers
  • depilatory products (removing hair from the body)
  • acne treatments
  • facial cleansers
  • styling gel/lotions
  • anti-aging products.

Examples os calcium hydroxide in food:

This compund is also widely used in the food industry,  for example when making

  • juice,
  • pickled cucumbers
  • corn tortillas
  • papadam.

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”.

Did you find this ingredient in a product?

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