Overview

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ Red List of Chemicals of Concern was developed to provide businesses with a resource to gauge the safety of ingredients in personal care products and cosmetics. Ultimately, the list is intended to help businesses determine which cosmetic chemicals should be banned or restricted in the products they make and sell.

The Red List includes chemicals found in personal care products, cleaning products and fragrance ingredients that pose serious, chronic health concerns including cancer, hormone disruption, and reproductive and developmental harm. The list also flags chemicals that are banned or have use restrictions by the U.S. or other world governments, ingredients that adversely impact worker health, and ingredients that are widely used in products marketed to women of color.

Purpose

Our Red List serves as the basis for a restricted substances list of chemicals that a brand, company or manufacturer prohibits or restricts from use in their beauty, personal care, or cleaning products. The adoption of such a list of restricted substances helps build customer trust based on the verified safety of company product ingredients and corporate transparency.

Companies should adopt a “do not use list” of toxic chemicals, also referred to as a “restricted substances list” or “red list,” to gauge the safety of ingredients they use including fragrance chemicals in beauty, personal care, and cleaning products. The list helps businesses define which chemicals to ban or restrict in the products they make and sell. The Red List can also guide product formulation within companies; establish guidelines for a manufacturer’s suppliers of fragrance, raw materials, and finished products; and provide ingredient transparency to consumers.

Background

In 2015, BCPP’s Campaign for Safe Cosmetics developed a Red List of Chemicals of Concern in Cosmetics. The original list included 102 chemicals found in personal care products that pose serious, chronic health concerns including cancer, hormone disruption, and reproductive and developmental harm. We have since expanded the Red List of Chemicals of Concern to also include chemicals used in cleaning products and fragrance ingredients. The list includes the original cosmetics Red List, fragrance ingredients found through product testing, as well as authoritative lists of hazardous chemicals compiled by colleague organizations, researchers, and reputable scientific bodies.

What’s On Our Red List

The new Red List includes 363 chemicals linked to adverse health effects used in beauty, personal care and cleaning products, and fragrance formulations. Many of these chemicals are used in more than one product category. The Red List of Chemicals of Concern includes:

  • 194 chemicals of concern used in beauty and personal care products
  • 159 chemicals of concern used in cleaning products
  • 218 chemicals of concern used in fragrance

See our Technical Guidance for support in using the Red List and to help you better understand why specific chemicals were included.

Methodology: Authoritative Lists Used to Define Health Hazards

Carcinogens
  • Agents Classified by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs

IARC Group 1: Known Human Carcinogen IARC Group 2A: Probable Human Carcinogen IARC Group 2B: Possible Human Carcinogen

  • National Toxicology Program Report on Carcinogens

NTP Known: Known Human Carcinogen NTP RA: Reasonably Anticipated to Be a Human Carcinogen

  • EU Globally Harmonized System

GHS H350: May Cause Cancer) GHS H351: Suspected of Causing Cancer

  • California Proposition 65 Listed Chemicals

Prop 65 Chemicals Known to the State of California to be Linked to Cancer

Mammary Gland Carcinogens
  • Silent Spring Institute List of Chemicals Linked to Mammary Gland Tumors
Endocrine-Disrupting Compounds
  • EU Strategy for Endocrine Disruptors

EU ED Category 1: Substances for which endocrine activity has been documented in at least one study of a living organism. These substances are given the highest priority for further studies. EU ED Category 2: Substances without sufficient evidence of endocrine activity, but with evidence of biological activity relating to endocrine disruption.

  • EU Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern for Authorization
  • ChemSec SIN List
  • The Endocrine Exchange List of Potential Endocrine Disruptors
Reproductive and Developmental Toxicants
  • California Proposition 65 Listed Chemicals

Prop 65: developmental Prop 65-f: developmental — female Prop 65-m: developmental — male Prop 65-f,m: developmental — male, female

  • Nominated for Study NIH

NTP-R: Reproductive toxicity NTP-D Developmental toxicity

  • EU Globally Harmonized System

EU EC H361f: Suspected of damaging fertility EU EC H361d: Suspected of damaging the unborn child

  • EU Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern for Authorization
Neurotoxic Chemicals
  • EU Globally Harmonized System

GHS 336: May cause drowsiness or dizziness

Respiratory Toxicity/ Asthmagens
  • EU Globally Harmonized System

EU EC H334: May cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled

  • Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics

AOEC R — Suspected Asthmagen AOEC Rs— Asthmagen, Sensitizer AOEC Rr— RADS: Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome AOEC G— Generally Accepted Asthmagen

Chronic Aquatic Toxicity
  • EU Globally Harmonized System

GHS 410: Very toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects GHS 411: Toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects GHS H412: Harmful to aquatic life with long-lasting effects

Skin Irritation
  • EU Fragrance Allergen: Established Contact Allergens in Humans
  • EU Globally Harmonized System

EU EC H315: Causes skin irritation EU EC H314: Causes severe skin burns and eye damage

Persistent, Bio-accumulative and Toxic
  • OSPAR PBT: Chemicals for Priority Action

Want the Red List Source Data?

Contact us to access the source data for our Red List.