The UK’s Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) has issued a statement in response to an episode of British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC’s) Watchdog program that described the allegedly severe reaction a woman experienced two years ago after using a popular brand of sunscreen. According to Watchdog, after conducting multiple tests on numerous patients, doctors and researchers at St. John’s Institute of Dermatology in London determined that the patients had suffered from allergic contact dermatitis caused by the chemical C30-38 olefin/isopropyl maleate/MA contained in the sunscreen. Since then, the doctors have urged lawmakers to re-assess the use of the chemical, but despite being identified as a potential allergen, the formulation of the product evidently remains the same, and the label contains no warnings about potential adverse effects.

Watchdog also reported that the original team of doctors has now identified a second ingredient, the preservative Methylisothiazolinone, in the same sunscreen product that may also cause a severe allergy.

According to CTPA, the ingredients highlighted in the program are “ legally allowed” and “safely used” in cosmetic products. CTPA Director Chris Flower said, “How our bodies react to substances all around us can vary greatly. ‘Allergy’ is a term that is often misused to describe all kinds of adverse reactions. In fact there’s a big difference between being irritated by a substance and being allergic to it. All cosmetic products must be safe according to strict and robust European law and this includes each product being assessed by a qualified safety assessor that will take account of all the ingredients used, the way the product is manufactured, who will use it and how and any directions for use. ” See CTPA News Release, June 19, 2013; www.bbc.co.uk.