Yesterday, August 14, 2012, a news was published about the withdrawal of 11 products from the Mercadona supermarket chain. These products have been discontinued from sale for containing two components that, combined, could form a carcinogenic substance.
The news would not have gone beyond that if it weren’t for a certain panic that has broken out, promoted in large part by an alarmist treatment that has been given in social networks and blogs that are not very rigorous. Misinformation, combined with the fear that the word cancer provokes in us, is causing people to throw away the products they have bought, run to ask for a refund of their money or, worse, be worried if they have run a risk by using these products.
Why have they been withdrawn?
The problem has been the simultaneous use of two components, triethanolamine and bronopol. These substances, when combined under certain circumstances, can produce nitrosamine, a substance that can be tumor-inducing.
Triethanolamine is a chemical product that is commonly used in cosmetic preparations and cleaning products to control pH. It is common in lotions for the skin, moisturizers, shampoos, shaving foams, etc.
Bronopol, on the other hand, is a highly effective antimicrobial substance, so its use is common in products as a preservative agent.
What is nitrosamine?
Nitrosamines are organic compounds present in most rubber compounds, pesticides, and in certain cosmetics.
It has been shown that they are strongly carcinogenic substances in a wide variety of experiments with animals, so it is considered that they are also carcinogenic for humans. It has been found that they have an incidence on the appearance of malignant tumors in the liver, kidney, pancreas, bladder, tongue, esophagus, lung, and stomach.
Nitrosamines are produced from reactions between nitrites and secondary amines (sometimes present in the form of proteins) in strongly acidic conditions, such as the gastric medium. They can also be produced at relatively high temperatures, such as those caused by frying.
The main source of exposure is through the diet. Proteins are a source of amines, and nitrates are used as preservatives in sausages or are even found in some vegetables.
Dangerous nitrosamines can also be ingested already synthesized in the food production or preservation process. This is the case with smoked foods, barbecues, preparations based on ham and cheese in hot temperatures, beer, and fish that has been frozen for a long time.
Finally, nitrosamines are also a source of tobacco smoke, or the use of certain pesticides.
Is there a health risk?
It must be made clear that there is no risk to health for those who have used these products. This has also been assured by the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices (AEMPS), which has issued a statement declaring that the safety of these cosmetics “is within reasonable limits”. Hence, it decided not to publish any health alert in this regard. The withdrawal is preventive and is due to a discrepancy in the interpretation of the regulations.
- The products did not contain nitrosamines, only triethanolamine and bronopol.
- The components were not in sufficient concentrations to form nitrosamines.
- The conditions for nitrosamines to form are high pH (in the stomach) or high temperatures (cooking process).
- Nitrosamines are not able to penetrate the skin, they must be ingested to pose a risk.
- Nitrosamines are mainly a problem associated with diet, especially sausages, cheeses, smoked foods, and even beer.
Therefore, it is completely safe to have used the withdrawn creams (unless you decide to fry them and eat them). It is logical that the regulations and regulatory authorities instruct manufacturers to control the simultaneous use of both substances. The products will simply be replaced by a similar chemical formula, probably by replacing bronopol or adding substances that inhibit the formation of nitrosamine.
List of the withdrawn products
Here is the list of the 11 withdrawn products. At the end of the post, you have the photos of each item.
- Deliplus - Body moisturizer with aloe.
- Deliplus - Body moisturizer luminosity effect.
- Deliplus - Firming body moisturizer.
- Deliplus - Atopic skin body moisturizer.
- Deliplus - Anti-dryness moisturizer for feet.
- Deliplus - Nutritive body cream with olive oil.
- Deliplus - Nutritive body cream with almonds.
- Deliplus - Nutritive hand cream.
- Solcare - Moisturizing after sun lotion.
- Solcare - Luminosity after sun lotion.
- Solcare - Aloe vera after sun gel.
Personally, I plan to continue using the ones I have at home until they are finished. However, the Mercadona chain has announced that it will replace the products with the new ones free of charge. And what about you? What will you do? Did you like the article? Do you have any questions? Do you want to give us your opinion on the subject? If so, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.