News Room

Cosmetic Ingredient Review Concludes Formaldehyde/Methylene Glycol Unsafe As Currently Used In Hair Straighteners

For Immediate Release: 
September 28, 2011

Contact:  Kathleen Dezio, (202) 454-0302 or Maiya Dacey (202) 454-0316

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At its 120th meeting in Washington yesterday, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel (CIR) reached its final conclusion on the safety of formaldehyde and methylene glycol as used in hair straightening products and found them to be unsafe under present conditions of use.
CIR, an independent, non-profit body of scientific and medical experts that assesses the safety of ingredients used in cosmetics in the U.S., initiated the review at the request of FDA, the Professional Beauty Association, and the Personal Care Products Council (the Council).  
The Expert Panel noted that the safety of methylene glycol and formaldehyde in hair straightening products depends on a number of factors, including the concentration of formaldehyde and methylene glycol, the amount of product applied, the temperature used during the application process, and the ventilation provided at the point of use.  The Panel concluded that under present practices of use and concentration, formaldehyde and methylene glycol are unsafe in hair straightening products.   
“CIR reached its conclusion after a comprehensive review of the available safety data and information and a robust discussion of this difficult and complex issue.  We support the panel’s findings,” said Jay Ansell, Council scientist and vice president of cosmetic programs.
The panel also concluded that formaldehyde and methylene glycol are safe for use as a preservative in cosmetics at minimal effective concentration levels and that do not exceed established limits and are safe in nail hardening products in the present practices of use and concentration.
A detailed summary of the CIR Expert Panel findings will be posted on the CIR Web site ( within the next week.
For more information on cosmetic and personal care products, please visit”
Based in Washington, D.C., the Personal Care Products Council is the leading national trade association representing the global cosmetic and personal care products industry. Founded in 1894, the Council's more than 600 member companies manufacture, distribute, and supply the vast majority of finished personal care products marketed in the U.S.As the makers of a diverse range of products millions of consumers rely on everyday, from sunscreens, toothpaste and shampoo to moisturizer, lipstick and fragrance, personal care products companies are global leaders committed to product safety, quality and innovation.