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What is it?

Some of the other names of this substance are epoxypropane, methyloxirane, methyl ethylene oxide and propylene epoxide.

“Propylene oxide is an organic compound with the molecular formula CH3CHCH2O. This colourless volatile liquid is produced on a large scale industrially..” Wikipedia

What are the effects?

This substance belongs to the groups:

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) identifies that the substance “is toxic in contact with skin, is toxic if inhaled, may cause genetic defects, may cause cancer, is an extremely flammable liquid and vapour, is harmful if swallowed, causes serious eye irritation, may cause respiratory irritation, is harmful to aquatic life and causes skin irritation.”

Propylene oxide, also called methyloxirane, is on ECHA Candidate List of “Substances of very High Concern.”

The substance is also on the Red List* from Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (previously the Breast Cancer Fund). It is listed as a probable and reasonably anticipated carcinogen.

*“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?

Propylene oxide has numerous applications and can for example be found in finger paints, adhesives, fuels, air care products, hydraulic fluids, and antifreeze products. The substance is also used in cosmetic* and household products such as perfumes, washing and cleaning products.

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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