Product Compliance Resources provided by ProductIP

2023-10-10

Ban on BMHCA in Cosmetic Products

Disclaimer: This document provides guidance and is not a legally binding interpretation and shall therefore not be relied upon as legal advice.

What is BMHCA (Butylphenyl Methylpropional)?
BMHCA, also known as 2-(4-tert-butylbenzyl) propionaldehyde or commonly as Lilial, is a synthetic fragrance used in cosmetics and personal care products like lotions, deodorants, hair products, perfumes, and more. It has a floral scent reminiscent of lily of the valley.

EU Ban on BMHCA in Cosmetic Products
In May 2019, the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) concluded that using BMHCA as a fragrance in cosmetic products is unsafe. They were concerned about the possibility of harm to the reproductive system when products with BMHCA are used together. They shared these findings in a lengthy 68-page SCCS Opinion on p-BMHCABMHCA is harmful to the reproductive system, affecting fertility and posing risk to an unborn child's health.
It could also lead to skin sensitisation and is being studied as a substance that could disrupt the endocrine system.

As a result, the Cosmetics Regulation was updated in October 2021, and BMHCA was banned per March 2022. From that time onward, cosmetics containing BMHCA had to be taken off the store shelves in the EU markets. In the past 15 months, a jaw-dropping number of 846 cosmetics containing BMHCA have been recalled, according to the alerts on Safety Gate.
This prohibited substance can be found on both lesser-known, cheaper brands and well-known, trusted cosmetic brands.
BMHCA is also used found in household cleaning agents, but the EU ban affects cosmetic products only.

How to identify BMHCA?
The ingredient was allowed in the past, but the presence must be declared on the packaging. That is why it is easy to spot the now prohibited substance in the recalled products – it is right there on the product itself!
This substance is listed in the ingredient list on the cosmetic product under the name Butylphenyl Methylpropional.

In summary: Avoid using shampoo, hand soap or any cosmetics, if the ingredient list mentions BMHCA, even if it can be rinsed off.

Notification of Unsafe Non-Food Consumer Products
If you are a manufacturer, distributor or importer and you discover that your product is unsafe, you can submit your notification through the European Product Safety Business Alert Gateway or contact your responsible national authorities.

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