Endocrine Disruptors in Europe

Zinc pyrithione

Zinc Pyrithione (CAS 13463-41-7) is a cosmetic ingredient used in hair products for its antimicrobial properties but also because this is an effective antidandruff and anti-seborrheic substance. As of today, the EU Cosmetics Regulation allows this ingredient as a preservative via Annex V, Entry 8 and as an antidandruff ingredient via Annex III, Entry 101. However, the antidandruff use of this ingredient in rinse-off hair products is currently not allowed (see table reported below).

The Cosmetic Industry expressed its willingness to use Zinc Pyrithione in rinse-off hair products for purposes other than inhibiting the development of micro-organisms and submitted safety data to the EU Commission to support this request. The EU Commission mandated the SCCS, which concluded that the use of Zinc Pyrithione in rinse-off hair products is safe and can be envisaged.

As a consequence, the legislation should be amended as follows:

Usage and product categoryFor the time beingExpected change
As a preservative in rinse-off hair products1%1%
As a preservative in other rinse-off products
(excluding oral products)
For purposes other than inhibiting the development of microorganisms in leave-on hair products0.1%0.1%
For purposes other than inhibiting the development of microorganisms in rinse-off antidandruff hair productsNot allowed2%

We draw your attention to the fact that the purpose of Zinc Pyrithione has to be apparent from the presentation of the product in case thisingredient is not used as a preservative. This can be achieved by indicating in brackets the function of Zinc Pyrithione in the list of ingredients.

The draft legislation is currently being reviewed by the EU Member States, which will vote at the Standing Committee in the next few months. Once approved, this piece of legislation will be implemented 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

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  • Frédéric Lebreux

    Dr. Frédéric Lebreux is Biorius's Chief Executive Officer and has worked in the cosmetic industry for more than 13 years. He is regularly invited as a speaker or Professor to cosmetic events.