Mercadona withdraws Deliplus skin-care range
Supermarket giant Mercadona has withdrawn 11 cosmetics products from its shelves after being informed by the Spanish Medicine Association that they each contain two substances, triethanolamine, a PH corrector, and bronopol, a preservative, which cannot be included together in one single product, because when combined they can generate nitrosamine, which has been shown to cause cancers among many species of animal.
Tests have shown the substance could also be a contributory factor to stomach cancer in humans. The Health Ministry said that use of the products would not lead to “any risk to health” in the short or medium term, but noted that studies suggest that nitrosamines can be harmful in the long term.
All of the 11 products were withdrawn at the end of July. As an additional precaution, RNB, the company that makes the products, (sun creams, after-sun lotions and skin moisturisers), has changed the barcodes on new batches of the lotions with the correct formula to prevent any of the tainted ones slipping through at checkouts.
According to RNB, the absence of any health risk attached to the products led the state agency not to issue a public health alert.
Mercadona stated it would exchange any of the tainted products for new ones or refund the money.
RNB, which supplies Mercadona with products bearing the Deliplus brand name, said it understood that a change in the regulations put the onus on providers to ascertain that the conjunction of chemicals did not produce nitrosamines.
According to the company, its technicians were satisfied that the products did not do so, but the agency decided on a complete withdrawal to avoid any potential risks to the public.
The 11 products that were taken out of circulation are: Deliplus nutritiva corporal con aceite de oliva; Deliplus crema de manos nutritiva; Deliplus hidratante corporal con aloe; Deliplus hidratante corporal efecto luminosidad; Deliplus hidratante corporal reafirmante; Deliplus hidratante antisequedad para pies; Deliplus nutritiva corporal con almendras; Deliplus hidratante corporal pieles atópicas; Solcare loción after sun hidratante; Solcare loción after sun luminosidad; Solcare gel after sun aloe vera. (Deliplus body lotion with olive oil; Deliplus hand cream; Deliplus body moisturizer with aloe; Deliplus illuminating body lotion; Deliplus reaffirming body lotion; Deliplus anti-dryness foot moisturizer; Deliplus almond body lotion; Deliplus body lotion for atopic skin types; Solcare after-sun lotion; Solcare illuminating after-sun lotion; and Solcare after-sun gel with aloe.)
While the risk of succumbing to the potential effects of nitrosamines in cosmetic and personal care products may be low, it is best to avoid products where these contaminants might lurk.
Be wary of ingredients with names containing the letters DEA such as lauramide DEA as well as the ingredients diethanolamine and triethanolamine. Another secondary amine that may contribute to nitrosamine formation is N-methylglycine, also called sarcosine. This can be a part of ingredients like cocoyl sarcosine and sodium lauroyl sarcosinate.
Also avoid potential nitrite producing preservatives like bronidox (5-bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane) and bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol), both of which may be used in cleansing products like shampoos.
If anyone remains worried about this they can call 902 548 222.
What are nitrosamines and should we be worried?
The UK Department of Trade and Industry (now the Department of Business,Enterpriseand Regulatory Reform) characterises nitrosamines as more toxic in more animal species than any other category of chemical carcinogen.
According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, nitrosamines are common in cosmetics, but because they are impurities, they are not listed on product labels.
Products That May Contain Nitrosamines
Nitrosamines are a potential impurity in 53 ingredients and more than 10,000 of the products listed in the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database as of July 2008.
Due to the common nature of this impurity, nearly every kind of personal care product, including mascara, concealer, conditioner, baby shampoo, pain relief salve and sunless tanning lotion, can contain nitrosamines as an impurity. Nitrosamines have been banned from use in cosmetics byCanadaand the European Union.
Where It Comes From
Nitrosamines are created in cosmetics when nitrates and various amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) are in favourable conditions to combine. Specifically, nitrosamines form when certain proteins, such as diethanolamine (DEA) or triethanolamine (TEA), are used in the same products as preservatives that can break down into nitrates.
As these various compounds break down over time, they can recombine into nitrosamines. Both DEA and TEA are common additives used to adjust the pH or act as wetting agents. The inadvertent creation of this carcinogenic compound can add a whole new challenge for consumers reading labels for safety, since nitrosamines do not appear on a label, and the precursor building blocks are not clearly noted.
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