Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating General Is Phenoxyethanol An Endocrine Disruptor?

  • Is Phenoxyethanol An Endocrine Disruptor?

    Posted by Graillotion on October 30, 2023 at 6:06 pm

    It seems like in the last 10 days or so…I see a flood of mommy blogger comments that Phenoxy is an endocrine disruptor.

    Doe anyone have a legitimate article addressing this concern…so it can be simply linked/dropped into these type of conversations….and life can go on? Prefer something at a level they can understand.


    MarkBroussard replied 5 months, 3 weeks ago 5 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • mikethair

    October 30, 2023 at 10:23 pm



    Free article



    Phenoxyethanol, or 2-phenoxyethanol, has a large spectrum of antimicrobial activity and has been widely used as a preservative in cosmetic products for decades. It is effective against various Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, as well as against yeasts, and has only a weak inhibitory effect on resident skin flora. According to the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, phenoxyethanol is safe for all consumers - including children of all ages - when used as a preservative in cosmetic products at a maximum concentration of 1%. Adverse systemic effects have been observed in toxicological studies on animals but only when the levels of exposure were many magnitudes higher (around 200-fold higher) than those to which consumers are exposed when using phenoxyethanol-containing cosmetic products. Despite its widespread use in cosmetic products, phenoxyethanol is a rare sensitizer. It can be considered as one of the most well-tolerated preservatives used in cosmetic products.

  • Camel

    October 31, 2023 at 12:57 am

    From the European Chemicals Agency:

    2-Phenoxyethanol is not mutagenic, carcinogenic or a reproductive toxicant. There is no evidence that it is neurotoxic or immunotoxic. An assessment of endocrine disruptor activity as defined in Regulation (EU) No 2017/2100 has not been conducted… However, there was no evidence of specific effects on endocrine tissues and organs. (ECHA, 2018)

    From a study titled “Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Phenoxyethanol”:

    In dermal treatment studies, Phenoxyethanol was neither teratogenic, embryotoxic, or fetotoxic at doses which were maternally toxic. Phenoxyethanol was nonmutagenic in the Ames test, with and without metabolic activition, and in the mouse micronucleus test. In clinical studies, Phenoxyethanol was neither a primary irritant nor sensitizer. Phenoxyethanol was not phototoxic in clinical studies. It is concluded that Phenoxyethanol is safe as a cosmetic ingredient in the present practices of use and concentration. (Journal of the American College of Toxicology, 1990)

    Unfortunately, unless the INCI of a preservative is something along the lines of “grapefruit seed extract”, it is not going to be well-received by a certain group of consumers. The reality is the average consumer does not care what preservative is used in their cosmetics and personal care products, otherwise the big companies like Procter & Gamble and Unilever wouldn’t still be at the top of sales. Pantene is still using Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT) in their shampoos and conditioners, and they are one of the best selling brands globally. Vaseline is still using parabens in their body lotions.

    Fearmongering is just a ploy used to drive sales of (primarily) smaller brands. They differentiated their products by being “paraben-free”, and now that many of the big companies are using phenoxyethanol instead, I’m starting to see “phenoxyethanol-free” on a lot of labels.

  • PhilGeis

    October 31, 2023 at 7:16 am

    the curse of Dabre - the partron saint of garbage science.

  • MarkBroussard

    November 2, 2023 at 6:04 pm

    The real curse is that “Free-From” marketing is allowed in the US. A missed opportunity of MoCRA was to prohibit “Free-From” marketing.

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