Butylated Hydroxyanisole, known as BHA, is a waxy solid that can be found in a variety of cosmetics and personal care products, particularly in lipstick and eye shadow. It is used as a preservative and antioxidant.
NOTE: Butylated Hydroxyanisole should not be confused with Beta Hydroxy Acids, which may also be abbreviated BHA and are good for your skin
The FDA Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for BHA says: "harmful by inhalation, ingestion and skin absorption. It may also cause fetal damage in pregnant women."
So why the heck do we have to worry about this? Remember...the FDA does not regulate beauty products. The reason the FDA has looked at this additive is due to its use in the food industry!
- BHA can induce allergic reactions in the skin. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies BHA as a possible human carcinogen.
- The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has also listed BHA as a Category 1 priority substance, based on evidence that it interferes with hormone function .
- Long-term exposure to high doses of BHT is toxic in mice and rats, causing liver, thyroid and kidney problems and affecting lung function and blood coagulation
- BHT can act as a tumor promoter in certain situations
- Limited evidence suggests that high doses of BHT may mimic estrogen, the primary female sex hormone, and prevent expression of male sex hormones, resulting in adverse reproductive affects.
One more reason to be an informed consumer: BHA is also found in sunscreen. Everyone tells you to put lots of sunscreen on your children before they go outside to play. However BHA-salicylic acid – is a common ingredient in sunscreens and the FDA says, "Avoid using BHA–containing products on infants and children"!