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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Safety assessment of dichlorophene and chlorophene.

Dichlorophene is a halogenated phenolic compound that functions as a bacteriocide and fungicide in cosmetics. Chlorophene is a halogenated phenolic compound that functions as a biocide and preservative in cosmetics. Dichlorophene was reported to be used in a total of five cosmetic formulations at concentrations of 0% to 1.0%, but Chlorophene was not reported to be used. Dichlorophene is prohibited for use in cosmetic ingredients in Japan. In Europe, the maximum authorized concentration allowed for Dichlorophene is 0.5% and for Chlorophene is 0.2%. The major impurity of Dichlorophene is the trimer 4-chloro-2,6-bis(5-chloro-2-hydroxybenzyl)phenol. In rats, Dichlorophene sulfate, Dichlorophene monoglucuronide, and Dichlorophene diglucuronide were the major metabolites of Dichlorophene and were excreted, mainly in the urine. The glucuronic acid conjugate, the sulfate ester conjugate, and two minor metabolites of Chlorophene were the metabolites found in rat urine. Chlorophene was incompletely absorbed through the rat skin. These chemicals exhibited low toxicity in acute oral toxicity studies in several animal species. Some evidence of toxicity with both chemicals was found in short-term oral toxicity studies in mice and rats; nephropathy was the principal finding. Chronic toxicity data were not available for Dichlorophene. Rats and mice dosed with Chlorophene for 2 years had a dose-related and sex-related increase in the severity of nephropathy. In animal tests, Dichlorophene and Chlorophene were ocular irritants. No inhalation toxicity data were available for these ingredients. Dichlorophene up to 10% concentration resulted in no to minimal irritation when applied to the intact and abraded skin of rabbits. Chlorophene was severely irritating to rabbits in most dermal irritation studies. Studies on guinea pigs gave positive and negative results in sensitization tests of Dichlorophene. A dose-related contact hypersensitivity response to Chlorophene was reported in mice. No reproductive or developmental toxicity data were available for Dichlorophene, but there was some evidence of non-dose-dependent developmental toxicity with Chlorophene in rabbits. Dichlorophene was positive in the Ames mutagenicity assay, but not in mammalian or fruit fly test systems. Chlorophene was mutagenic in four in vitro mammalian test systems. Carcinogenicity studies for Dichlorophene were not found. Neoplasms were not observed in rats treated with Chlorophene for 2 years; however a significant incidence of neoplasms was observed in mice so treated. A 1-year National Toxicology Program (NTP) study concluded that Chlorophene was a cutaneous irritant and a weak skin tumor promoter but had no activity as an initiator or complete carcinogen. Dichlorophene was not a sensitizer in clinical dermal sensitization tests. Some reactions to Chlorophene occurred in some, but not all, clinical dermal sensitization tests. Positive photopatch tests to Dichlorophene were found in 13/469 patients. Although these ingredients were ocular irritants at high concentrations, the risk at concentrations which are actually used in cosmetic formulations was uncertain. Overall, the available data were insufficient to support safety of Dichlorophene or Chlorophene. Additional data needed include (1) method of manufacture and impurities data (especially the trimer in Dichlorophene); (2) photosensitization and photocarcinogenicity data for Dichlorophene; (3) dermal reproductive and developmental toxicity data for Dichlorophene (as a function of dose); and (4) ocular irritation at concentration of use, if available.[1]


  1. Safety assessment of dichlorophene and chlorophene. Yamarik, T.A. International journal of toxicology. (2004) [Pubmed]
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