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Preservative Update

SpecialChem / Tom Branna – Feb 15, 2006

The media frenzy regarding a paraben-cancer link has subsided, but behind the scene, suppliers have rolled out alternatives to placate customers searching for less-controversial systems. At the same time, formulators are engineering systems that require lower levels of chemical preservatives, for example reduced water activity, addition of potentiators, pH manipulation and packaging. All this as the regulatory situation remains as fragmented as ever. A year ago, preservative suppliers and their customers got a wakeup call when headlines around the world proclaimed a link between parabens and breast cancer. The impetus for the reports was a questionable research paper by Philippa Darbre. Most suppliers contacted by Happi, insisted the Darbre research was flawed. "The controversy has subsided somewhat as the technical accuracy of the initial reports have come under challenge," noted Sandra Porter, Clariant. "Recent reports published and available in the public domain indicate that there is no conclusive evidence of harmful effects from parabens in cosmetics at typical usage levels."

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