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

Final report on the safety assessment of octoxynol-1, octoxynol-3, octoxynol-5, octoxynol-6, octoxynol-7, octoxynol-8, octoxynol-9, octoxynol-10, octoxynol-11, octoxynol-12, octoxynol-13, octoxynol-16, octoxynol-20, octoxynol-25, octoxynol-30, octoxynol-33, octoxynol-40, octoxynol-70, octoxynol-9 carboxylic acid, octoxynol-20 carboxylic acid, potassium octoxynol-12 phosphate, sodium octoxynol-2 ethane sulfonate, sodium octoxynol-2 sulfate, sodium octoxynol-6 sulfate, and sodium octoxynol-9 sulfate.

Octoxynols are ethoxylated alkylphenols in which the size of the molecule is related to the number of moles of ethylene oxide used in synthesis. Reactions are performed at elevated temperature, under pressure, and in the presence of NaOH. It is possible that the synthesis may leave trace amounts of ethylene oxide, 1,4-dioxane, and unreacted C9 phenols. Octoxynols of various chain lengths as well as octoxynol salts and organic acids function in cosmetics either as surfactants--emulsifying agents, surfactants--cleansing agents, surfactant--solubilizing agents, or surfactants--hydrotropes in a wide variety of cosmetic products at concentrations ranging from 0.0008% to 25%, with most less than 5.0%. The octoxynols are chemically similar to nonoxynols, the safety of which were previously considered. Long-chain nonoxynols (9 and above) were considered safe as used, whereas short-chain nonoxynols (8 and below) were considered safe as used in rinse-off products and safe at concentrations less than 5% in leave-on formulations. Acute exposure of hamsters to Octoxynol-9 by bronchopulmonary lavage produced pneumonia, pulmonary edema, and intra-alveolar hemorrhage. Octoxynol-9 at doses over 1 g/kg was toxic in rats and in mice in acute oral toxicity studies. No significant effects were noted in short-term oral studies of Octoxynol-9 in rats, in subchronic oral studies of Octoxynol-40 in rats and dogs, or in chronic oral studies of Octoxynol-40 in rats. The intraperitoneal LD50 of Octoxynol-9 in rats and mice was around 100 mg/kg. In skin irritation studies, octoxynols ranged from nonirritating to moderately irritating. Octoxynols were not ocular irritants in one rabbit study, but in others there was ocular irritation. No immune system toxicity in CF-1 female mice was noted following the intraperitoneal injection of Octoxynol-9 followed by subcutaneous immunization with sheep red blood cells (SRBCs). Octoxynol-9 produced no humoral and cell-mediated immune responses, or autoimmune response in mice. In the Ames test, Octoxynol-1 was not mutagenic with and without metabolic activation nor was Octoxynol-9 clastogenic. Results for Octoxynol-9 were negative in the following assays: unscheduled DNA synthesis, hypoxanthine guanine phosphoribosyl transferase mutation assay, malignant transformation assay, DNA alkaline unwinding test, and mouse lymphoma thymidine kinase locus forward mutation assay. Ethoxylated alkylphenols are generally considered to be estrogenic in that they mimic the effects of estradiol. Dermal exposure at three dose levels of rats to Octoxynol-9 failed to induce any malformations by category (external, visceral, or skeletal) or by individual anatomical location that were different from controls at statistically significant level. An increased incidence of a vestigial thoracic rib was observed in all dose groups. Octoxynol-9 also did not induce developmental toxicity (number of viable litters, liveborn per litter, percentage survival, birth weight per pup, and weight gain per pup) in female specific pathogen-free CD-1 mice dosed daily by gavage on gestation days 6 through 13. No reproductive toxicity was seen in male albino rats which received 5% Octoxynol-40 in the diet daily for 3 months; however, in an in vitro test, Octoxynol-9 (0.24 mg/ml) totally immobilized all human spermatozoa within 20 s. Women who used Nonoxynol-9 or Octoxynol-9 as spermicides, but who did become pregnant, did not have an increase in the overall risk of fetal malformations. In a human skin irritation study, formulations containing 2.0% Octoxynol-9 were classified as moderately irritating and minimally irritating, respectively, in a 24-h single-insult, occlusive patch test. Octoxynol-9 (1.0%) was classified as a nonirritant in a clinical study of nine subjects patch tested for 4 consecutive days. The skin sensitization potential of Octoxynols-1, -3, -5, -9, and -13 was evaluated using 50 subjects. Octoxynol-1 induced sensitization in two subjects; all other results were negative. No sensitization was observed in the following studies: 8.0% Octoxynol-9 in 103 subjects, 0.5% Octoxynol-9 in 102 subjects, and 0.1% Octoxynol-9 in 206 subjects. Concerns about even trace levels of 1,4-dioxane, ethylene oxide, or unreacted C9 led to the recommendation that levels be limited. Concerns about the ocular irritancy of short-chain octoxynols led to a recommendation that they should not be used in products that will be used in the area surrounding the eyes. A limitation on the use concentration for short-chain octoxynols (8 and below) arose from consideration of the skin sensitization potential of octoxynols and the recognition that the short-chain octoxynols could be absorbed into the skin more than the long-chain octoxynols. Overall, based on the available data, it was concluded that long-chain octoxynols (9 and above) are safe as used, whereas short-chain octoxynols (8 and below) are safe as used in rinse-off products and safe at concentrations less than 5% in leave-on formulations.[1]


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