What is it?

“Calcium hydroxide (traditionally called slaked lime) is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula 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.” Wikipedia

What are the effects?

This substance belongs to the groups:

Calcium hydroxide is on the Red List* of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (previously the Breast Cancer Fund). They classify calcium hydroxide as an “occupational hazard.”

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

The compound 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.

* “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?

Calcium hydroxide is used as a ph adjuster in various cosmetics*. The substance can be found in products such as hair relaxers, depilatory products (removing hair from the body), acne treatments, facial cleansers, styling gel/lotions, and anti-aging products.

The compound is also widely used in the food industry. It is for example used when making juice, pickled cucumbers, corn tortillas, and 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”.

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