CAP:  Regulate Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) in products

CAP Press Conference on Regulate EDCs in products -President En Mohideen ABdul Kader and Research Officer Puan Hatijah Hashim.

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) calls on the authorities to regulate Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) in products and strictly enforce the laws pertaining to cosmetics and personal care products sold in the country.

CAP President highlighting EDC free Asia analysis results.

Presently cosmetics and personal care products are controlled under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984 and the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive (ACD).

Recent tests conducted on 32 samples of cosmetics and personal care products for children detected the presence of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs)  in some of the samples tested.

The study was done with the assistance of  Wonjin Institute for Occupational and Environmental Health (WIOEH) with support from the Financial Industry Public Interest Foundation (FIPIF), both in the Republic of Korea (ROK).

The results were revealed at a conference in Seoul, ROK. The conference was participated by non-government organizations (NGOs) including CAP from Malaysia and others from Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Philippines. The NGOs are part of the organisations in the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), a global network working for a toxics-free world.

Sample of bodywash.

For the study, a total of 32 samples from Malaysia, comprising hand wash, body wash, deodorants, toothpaste, mouthwash, feminine wash and baby wipes were tested for the amount of paraben*  which is an endocrine-disrupting chemical.

Out of the 32 products, 3 were without ingredient labeling. Of the other 28 samples, 15 were found to have incorrect labels of ingredients.

Sample of children toothpaste.

Among the 8 participating countries, Malaysia has the highest percentage of incorrect labels of ingredients which is 53.6   percent of the samples submitted.

Out of 32 samples tested 18 were found to contain methyl paraben; 5, ethyl paraben; 10, propyl paraben; 1, isobutyl paraben; and 1, phenyl paraben.

A popular brand of body wash was found to contain high levels of methyl, ethyl, and propylparaben. It was also found to contain isobutyl and phenyl paraben which have been banned by the ASEAN  Cosmetics Committee since 2015.

Propyl paraben was found to be present in 4 samples of baby wipes and a sample of children’s toothpaste was found to contain butyl paraben and propyl paraben.  According to the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive (ACD), the use of propyl paraben, butyl paraben, and their salts are allowed in cosmetics except for leave-on products designed for application on nappy areas of children under 3 years old.

Samples of baby wipes.

The results revealed that there is a lack of enforcement despite having legislation where cosmetics are concerned. Malaysian consumers are unaware of the extent and types of chemicals present in the cosmetics sold in the country. From the market survey, we found that personal care products for children are popular.

The presence of parabens in cosmetics and children’s personal care products sold in Malaysia is of grave concern as they have been identified as EDCs – chemicals that are capable of mimicking, blocking, and interfering with the hormones in the body’s endocrine system.

EDCs are known to have different impacts on different genders. Women – due to their physiology, biological makeup, and social determinants – are more vulnerable to its effect.

EDCs have been linked with many known health implications, especially in women and children across the world. Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, now known as Global Framework on Chemicals, identifies EDCs as an Emerging Policy Issue (EPI).

Given the above situation, there is an urgent need to come out with comprehensive regulatory measures, enhancement of public awareness, and investments in safer alternatives to protect vulnerable populations, particularly children, women, and disadvantaged communities.

In view of the latest results, revealing the presence of EDCs in cosmetics and children’s personal care products and the health effects associated with it, CAP calls on the authorities to:

· regulate Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) in products.

· strictly enforce the laws pertaining to cosmetics and personal care products for children.



Mohideen Abdul Kader
Consumers Association of Penang

Press Statement, 22 February 2024


*Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as artificial preservatives in cosmetic and body care products since the 1920s. Since cosmetics contain ingredients that can biodegrade, these chemicals are added to prevent and reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and mold, increasing the shelf life of the product. The concern with these chemicals is that scientific studies suggest that parabens can disrupt hormones in the body and harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer. They can also cause skin irritation