Amended final report of the safety assessment of t-Butyl Alcohol as used in cosmetics

Int J Toxicol. 2005;24 Suppl 2:1-20. doi: 10.1080/10915810590953833.

Abstract

t-Butyl Alcohol (t-BuOH) is a tertiary aliphatic alcohol that is used as a solvent or an alcohol denaturant and as a perfume carrier in cosmetics. t-BuOH was reported as an ingredient in 32 formulations of eye makeup, fragrance, and shaving preparations, at concentrations ranging from 0.00001% and 0.3%. There is little acute oral toxicity in animals; e.g., the acute oral LD(50) in rats was 3.0 to 3.7 g/kg. In short-term oral studies in rats, t-BuOH at 2% (w/v) or less in drinking water did not cause gross organ or tissue damage in mice, although weight loss was reported and microscopic damage to livers and kidney and alterations such as centrilobular necrosis, vacuolation in hepatocytes, and loss of hepatic architecture were noted. Subchronic oral dosing with t-BuOH increased the mineralization of the kidney, nephropathy, and urinary bladder transitional cell epithelial hyperplasia in rats; and liver damage, chronic inflammation, hyperplasia of transitional cell epithelium urinary, and proliferative changes including hyperplasia and neoplasia in the thyroid in mice. Male rats exposed to t-BuOH were susceptible to alpha 2mu-globulin nephropathy. t-BuOH (99.9%) was a moderate to severe ocular irritant to rabbits and caused mild to moderate dermal irritation to rabbits. It was not considered to be a primary dermal irritant to rabbits. In animal studies, fetotoxicity generally increased with concentration, and fetal weights were slightly depressed at concentrations of 0.5% to 1% t-BuOH. t-BuOH produced a significant increase in the number of resorptions per litter. There was also a significant decrease in the number of live fetuses per litter. t-BuOH reduced maternal weight gain, litter sizes, birth weights, and weights at weaning, and increased perinatal and postnatal mortality. t-BuOH was not mutagenic in several bacterial and mammalian test systems. The principal effects from 2 years of exposure to t-BuOH in drinking water (up to 10 mg/ml for rats and 20 mg/ml for mice) were proliferative lesions (hyperplasia, adenoma, and carcinoma) in the kidneys of exposed male rats, and nephropathy in all exposed groups of female rats. There was some evidence of carcinogenic activity, but it was not consistent between species, sexes, or doses. A repeat-insult patch test (RIPT) test showed no potential for eliciting either dermal irritation or sensitization by 100% t-BuOH. Dermatitis can result from dermal exposure of humans to t-BuOH. In consideration of these data, it was concluded that t-BuOH was (at most) a weak carcinogen and unlikely to have significant carcinogenic potential as currently used in cosmetic formulations. In addition, the renal tubule effects found in male rats were likely an effect of alpha 2mu-globulin. In consideration of the reproductive and developmental toxicity data, the increased incidence of still births occurred at high exposure levels and was likely secondary to maternal toxicity. Based on the available animal and clinical data in this report, it was concluded that t-BuOH is safe as used in cosmetic products.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Carcinogenicity Tests
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry, Physical
  • Cosmetics / toxicity*
  • Drug Contamination
  • Female
  • Growth / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Irritants / toxicity
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Skin Tests
  • Teratogens
  • tert-Butyl Alcohol / chemistry
  • tert-Butyl Alcohol / pharmacokinetics
  • tert-Butyl Alcohol / toxicity*

Substances

  • Cosmetics
  • Irritants
  • Teratogens
  • tert-Butyl Alcohol