What is it?

“Safrole is a phenylpropene. It is a colorless or slightly yellow oily liquid typically extracted from the root-bark or the fruit of sassafras plants in the form of sassafras oil.” Wikipedia

What are the effects?

This substance belongs to the groups:

Safrole is on the Red List from Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (previously the Breast Cancer Fund). They list the substance as a probable and reasonably anticipated carcinogen.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) identifies that this substance “may cause cancer, is harmful if swallowed and causes skin irritation.” It is also classified as a CMR substance* by ECHA and included on ChemSec’s SIN List, a database of chemicals likely to be banned or restricted in a near future.

*CMR substance; classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CRM)

How is it used?

Safrole, sometimes also called 5-allyl-1,3-benzodioxole, is used in the manufacture of fragrances, pesticides and other chemicals. In cosmetics* it can be found in products such as shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, body washes, and lotions.

Safrole is also used in the manufacturing of MDMA, also known as molly. It is suspected that this is causing rapid and illegal harvesting of trees in Southeast Asia that is containing the liquid.

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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Read about the other ingredients.