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Public Health
Expert opinion

Methyl salicylate (methyl 2-hydroxybenzoate)

Final Opinion

Details

Publication date
27 October 2021
Author
Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS)

Description

SCCS members: U. Bernauer, L. Bodin, Q. Chaudhry, P.J. Coenraads (Chairperson), M. Dusinska, J. Ezendam, E. Gaffet, C.L. Galli, B. Granum, E. Panteri, V. Rogiers, Ch. Rousselle (Rapporteur), M. Stepnik, T. Vanhaecke, S. Wijnhoven
SCCS external experts: A. Koutsodimou, W. Uter, N. von Goetz
Contact:SANTE-C2-SCCS@ec.europa.eu
On request from: European Commission
SCCS Number: SCCS/1633/21
Adopted on: 26-27 October 2021

Conclusion of the opinion:

(1) In light of the data provided and taking under consideration the RAC Opinion on Methyl salicylate and the expected new classification as Toxic for Reproduction Category 2 of Methyl salicylate (to be introduced by an update of Annex VI Reg. 1272/2008), does the SCCS consider Methyl salicylate safe when used up to the maximum concentrations provided in the dossier submitted by the applicant?

The SCCS considers Methyl salicylate safe when used in cosmetic products up to the maximum concentrations provided in the dossier submitted by the applicant as detailed in Table 1.

(2) Does the SCCS have any further scientific concerns with regard to the use of Methyl salicylate in cosmetic products, also in relation to the RAC recommended classification of Methyl salicylate as ‘Skin sensitizer Category 1B’?

Methyl salicylate should be considered as a weak skin sensitiser in humans and eye irritant.

Moreover the SCCS would like also to express other concerns related to the use of methyl salicylate:

- Methyl salicylate can be used in consumer products other than cosmetic products, such as household cleaning products, air care products, biocides (e.g. disinfectants, pest control products), polishes and waxes which may increase the systemic exposure dose with a possibility to exceed the safe level.

- Methyl salicylate will be metabolised in the body to salicylic acid which is also classified as a reprotoxicant and used in cosmetic products (see opinion SCCS/1601/18). Therefore the combined exposure to cosmetic products containing various salicylates may increase the systemic exposure dose with a possibility to exceed the safe level.

The SCCS also notices that wintergreen oil that is used in cosmetic products may contain up to 99% methyl salicylate. Therefore when calculating the content of methyl salicylate in a cosmetic product, any fraction coming from wintergreen oil should also be considered.

Keywords:

SCCS, scientific opinion, methyl salicylate, methyl 2-hydroxybenzoate, Regulation 1223/2009

Opinion to be cited as:

SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety), Opinion on methyl salicylate (methyl 2-hydroxybenzoate), preliminary version of 24-25 June, final version of 26-27 October 2021, SCCS/1633/21.

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