What is ETHANOLAMINES
Ethanolamines, including DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), and TEA (Triethanolamine), are chemicals used in cosmetics and personal care products for various purposes, such as adjusting pH levels, emulsifying, and acting as surfactants. However, concerns have arisen about their safety due to potential health risks. Ethanolamines can react with other ingredients in cosmetic formulations to form nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens. Nitrosamines have been linked to cancer in animal studies, raising concerns about potential risks to human health.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified DEA as possibly carcinogenic to humans. TEA and MEA are not classified as carcinogenic by the IARC but are still associated with potential health concerns. Some countries have imposed restrictions on using these ethanolamines in cosmetics, and manufacturers have sought alternatives with lower nitrosamine-forming potential. For consumers who want to minimize their exposure to these chemicals, selecting products labeled as "DEA-free," "MEA-free," or "TEA-free" can be a prudent choice to reduce potential nitrosamine contamination risks. This approach helps address concerns about the safety of ethanolamines in cosmetic products.
[Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Toxicology Program, "Diethanolamine," ntp.niehs.nih.gov, accessed on September 13, 2021]