New SCCS opinion on o-Phenylphenol

On December 15th, 2015, the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) revised its opinion from June 25th on o-Phenylphenol, concluding that lowering the maximum concentration limit for this substance in leave-on cosmetics products is recommendable.


The Cosmetics Regulation currently establishes a concentration limit for o-Phenylphenol, Sodium o-Phenylphenate and Potassium o-phenylphenate use as a preservative, of 0.2% (as phenol).

o-Phenylphenol has been recently identified as a possible endocrine disrupter. A risk assessment submitted by the French Authority concluded that the above maximum concentration limit should be revised.

Afterwards, a safety dossier was submitted by the cosmetics industry substantiating that the current limit can be maintained.

SCCS Opinion

The main question addressed in the Opinion of the SCCS was:

  • Are the above mentioned ingredients to be considered safe for use as preservatives with a maximum concentration of 0.2%, taking into account the available information?

According to SCCS Opinion the use of o-Phenylphenol as preservative up to 0.2% in leave-on products is not safe. The Committee considered as safe the limit of 0.15% proposed by the industry for leave-on products. In rinse-off products the concentration limit can be maintained. There were no conclusions on the safety of Sodium o-phenylphenate and Potassium o-phenylphenate due to the lack of information.


Even though the opinions of the SCCS are not legally binding, the general practice in the European Union is to shortly adopt legislation, confirming the findings of the Committee. Cosmetics manufacturers and their Responsible Person should closely follow the updates from the SCCS to take the right decisions towards ensuring compliance of their products on the EU market.

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