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Endocrine disruptors are chemicals or natural molecules that, in the right dose, interfere with the hormone system in mammals, leading to cancerous tumors, birth defects and other developmental disorders. Cosmetic manufacturers must ensure their products are safe to both human health and the environment.

Visual Jar of Cream

Endocrine disruptors occur both naturally and as a result of human activity. They have been specifically linked to problems associated with obesity, diabetes, female reproduction, male reproduction, hormone-sensitive cancers in females, prostate cancer in males, the thyroid, and the neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems. They can be found in many things we use in our daily lives, either through being introduced as a raw material, or during production processes, or from interactions between the product and its packaging.

Manufacturers of cosmetic and personal care products need to be sure that the products they supply are not harmful to human health or the environment. To achieve this, they must detect and quantify any endocrine disrupting activity of the estrogenic type in their products.

The OEDTest

SGS has developed, in combination with NIR industry, an innovative, patented in-vitro analytical technique for detecting and quantifying estrogenic endocrine disruptors activity – the OEDTest.

Traditional laboratory techniques, such as HPLC, GC, mass spectrometry, etc. have tended to only focus on the molecules present in their screening libraries. The OEDTest differs because it makes it possible to verify the absence of disruptor activity in a sample. This is achieved through the creating of a two-stage approach to testing. All tests comply with directives from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (level 2) and relevant cosmetic regulations.

The OEDTest begins with a molecular screening for endocrine disruptors activity. If they are found to be present (if there is an activity), the sample is then taken for precise evaluation through the identification of agonist or antagonist effects, via a cellular test. The agonist effect will bind the endocrine disruptor to the hormone receptor, making it imitate the effect of a natural hormone (mimetic effect). The signal created will then disrupt the endocrine system involved with gene transcription. Conversely, the antagonist effect allows the endocrine disruptor to bind with the hormone receptor without activating it (inhibition effect). This will also disrupt gene transcription, creating changes in the regulation of the hormone system.

SGS specialists then review the results and can either validate or reject the safety of the product, in terms of endocrine disruption activity. In addition, the experts can also offer possible reformulations and/or potential solutions for eliminating the molecules responsible and/or for inhibiting the disruptor function.

Testing Requirements

The OEDTest is available for a wide range of consumer products, including:

  • Raw materials: food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, plant protection or industrial products
  • Cleaning or plant protection products
  • Processed products: ready meals, agri-food
  • Packaging: container/content interactions
  • Equipment in contact with the skin and/or bodily fluids

On average, testing takes a maximum of two weeks from sample delivery to report. The quantity of sampling material required depends upon the material being tested:

  • Raw materials: solid, liquid, powder, viscous, polar, apolar and organic, inorganic or solvent materials – to be shipped = min. 10g
  • Packaging, construction, paint, synthetic, natural or composite materials – to be shipped = min. 20g
  • Finished and packaged manufactured products, to evaluate the container/content interactions as well as the product for consumption – to be shipped = whole product in its commercial form

SGS Solution: The OEDTest

With the introduction of the OEDTest, SGS has created a simple and effective way for cosmetic manufacturers to ensure that finished products delivered to consumers do not have endocrine-disrupting estrogen-like activity. This test offers additional security and is useful, for example, for toxicologists in charge of safety assessments. Unlike traditional laboratory tests, the OEDTest allow manufacturers to verify the absence or presence of estrogenic disruptive activity.

With a network of over 2,400 offices and laboratories around the world and a consistent record for developing innovative and effective testing solutions, SGS is the first choice for manufacturers looking to ensure their cosmetic and personal care products are safe, compliant and ready for the marketplace.

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To learn more about SGS Cosmetic Product testing and the OEDTest, contact:

Carine Dumas
Sales engineer for Cosmetics, Personal Care and Household Business
t: +33 1 41 24 86 62
www.sgs.com/cpch