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Coumarin in cosmetic products

The Competence Partner Beauty Care within IKW assesses the cosmetics with the fragrance coumarin available on the German cosmetics market as safe. The demand made by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) to use less coumarin is, therefore, considered by the Competence Partner Beauty Care within IKW as inappropriate.

Coumarin is the substance which imparts fresh hay and dried woodruff its pleasant spicy smell. Sources for coumarin in cosmetic products are typically perfume oils as well as some plant extracts.

Amount in cosmetic products safe

BfR has used as a basis for the daily intake of coumarin which is safe in terms of health the TDI value which applies within the European Union of a maximum of 0.1 mg/kg body weight (TDI = Tolerable Daily Intake; tolerable daily consumption via foods over lifetime). This value was fixed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for oral intake.

More recent systematic assessments of the toxicology of coumarin proceed, however, on the basis of an essentially higher safe value. Moreover, there are relevant scientific data suggesting that the liver toxicity effects observed after oral intake of coumarin are not to be expected after an intake through the skin.

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