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Sodium Dehydroacetate

* A preservative

* Please read TIA's post on What Is It: Preservatives and Parabens and Are They Safe


Sodium Dehydroacetate is a preservative used in cosmetics and personal care products because of its antimicrobial properties. It appears in a variety of products, including bath, skin care, suntan, sunscreen, fragrance, shaving, hair and nail care products, and eye and facial makeup, because of its ability to kill microorganisms and "prevent their growth and reproduction, thus protecting cosmetics and personal care products from spoilage," according to Sodium Dehydroacetate is considered to be an effective antimicrobial and preservative even at very low concentrations, as low as .6%, prohibiting the growth of bacterial and fungal microbes, although they do not necessarily kill already developed microbes.

Sodium Dehydroacetate is CIR approved, as well as FDA approved, although the FDA only allows this ingredient to be used as a preservative for cut or peeled squash.

Safety Measures/Side Effects:

The Cosmetics Database finds Sodium Dehydroacetate to be a low hazard ingredient, although it is a known irritant and does have many listed concerns. The EWG notes cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, occupational hazards, and organ system toxicity as potential side effects, and has lesser concerns regarding neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption. One or more in vitro tests on mammalian cells showed positive mutation results, and other animal studies showed endocrine system disruption, brain and nervous system, and reproductive effects at high doses. The European Union restricts workplace exposure to low doses, and classifies Sodium Dehydroacetate as toxic or harmful, especially when used around the mouth or lips.

According to the International Journal of Toxicology, Sodium Dehydroacetate is rapidly absorbed by the skin (when tested on rats), and was found to be slightly toxic when administered orally to rats; it was not, however, found to be an irritant when applied to rabbit skin, but did exhibit minimal eye irritation. According to the MSDS for Sodium Dehydroacetate, this ingredient is considered hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation.

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