Fabian Demicoli

Diethylene Glycol (DEG)

Diethylene Glycol (DEG) – its use to be provisionally banned as an ingredient in oral hygiene products

On the basis of concerns expressed by some Member States regarding the use of diethylene glycol (DEG) in cosmetic products and in particular, the French decision relative to cosmetic products to provisionally ban the use of DEG as ingredient in oral hygiene products and a limitation of DEG as a residue in glycerol of up to max 0.1% and for polyethylene glycols a residue content of diethylene glycol of up to 0.4% for the sum of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, the SCCP was consulted.


The SCCP delivered its opinion on 24 June 2008 (SCCP/1181/08) in which it concluded that:

"SCCP is of the opinion that diethylene glycol (DEG) should not be used as an ingredient in cosmetic products including oral care products. This opinion is based on the fact that more than 600 deaths have occurred due to DEG mass poisonings. Although most of the deaths have occurred after oral intake, deaths are also reported after dermal exposure. In addition, reliable data in line with present guideline requirements on non-lethal repeated dose toxicity and dermal absorption, which would allow assessment of the safety of use in cosmetic products, is not available. SCCP is of the opinion that a maximum concentration of up to 0.1% DEG from impurities in ingredients like glycerine and polyethylene glycols in the finished cosmetic products can be considered to be safe".


Actions envisaged by the Commission

The Commission is considering introducing the following entries in Annexes II and III of

Council Directive 76/768/EEC relative to cosmetic products:

In Annex II

Diethylene glycol (DEG), Cas No 111-46-6, for traces level see Annex III.

In Annex III

Diethylene glycol (DEG) with Cas No 111-46-6; Traces in ingredients like glycerine and polyethylene glycols-maximum authorized concentration of 0.1%.

For more information please contact Abigail Mamo @ GRTU.

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