Phenoxyethanol, glycol ether often derived from natural sources, is a popular antibacterial and preservative chemical, used by many so called natural and organic skin care brands. It is also used in many vaccines and bug repellants.
A few beauty brands marketed as the greenest in the industry use phenoxyethanol as a preservative, suggesting that it is derived from grapefruit. Well, cocamide DEA is derived from coconut but this doesn’t make it any less toxic!
Chemically known as ethylene glycol phenyl ether or ethylene glycol monophenyl ether, phenoxyethanol is an ethoxylated compound that may be contaminated with carcinogenic toxin 1,4-Dioxane.
According to Journal of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, phenoxyethanol affected brain and nervous system in animals at moderate doses. In 1990 Journal of the American College of Toxicology reported that phenoxyethanol also acts as an endocrine disruptor that also caused damage to bladder and acute pulmonary edema in animals. Early 1980s studies also suggest that phenoxyethanol can cause DNA mutations – again, only in animals, as it was not tested on humans.
Phenoxyethanol is a scientifically proven irritant to human skin and eyes (Comparison of objective and sensory skin irritations of several cosmetic preservatives. Lee E, An S, Choi D, Moon S, Chang I. Contact Dermatitis. 2007 Mar;56(3):131-6.) and it is classified as irritant in European Union. Phenoxyethanol is also restricted for use in Japan.
No matter what the studies say, phenoxyethanol is deemed perfectly safe for use in cosmetics in the U.S. and UK in concentrations of up to 1 percent. This means, a 200 ml bottle of shampoo contains a teaspoon of phenoxyethanol!
The most surprising it that the Soil Association, the organic certification body in the UK permits the use of phenoxyethanol in products that it certifies organic. Please read the organic ingredients on products.
All Organic Apoteke products are free of phenoxyethanol and phenoxyethanol residues.