(in 37,973 products)

Potential Risk Index®:

ISCE InhaleISCE SwallowISCE ContactISCE Environment
PRI Legend


1. Bulking Agent - Non-nutritious or inactive substances added to increase stability of the mixture.
2. Drug / Medicine - Treats, alleviates, cures, or prevents sickness. As officially declared by a governmental drug/medicine regulatory body
3. Emulsifier - Allows water and oils to remain mixed together to form an emulsion.
4. Gelling Agent / Thickener - Increases the viscosity by thickening the liquid to give it more texture
5. Suspending Agent - Promotes particle suspension or dispersion while reducing sedimentation
6. Viscosity Controlling Agent - Maintains or alters the thickness of a liquid, mostly used in cosmetics
Poly(acrylic acid) (PAA; trade name Carbomer) is a synthetic high-molecular weight polymers of acrylic acid. Polyacrylic acid and its derivatives are used in disposable diapers, ion exchange resins, and adhesives. They are also popular as thickening, dispersing, suspending, and emulsifying agents in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and paints. For medical applications such as gels for skin care or skin disease treatment products. [1]
Recent Findings:
When rats were given radioactive-labelled acrylates copolymer, more than 97% of the radioactivity was recovered in feces, primarily within 48 h of dosing. It concluded that less than 0.02% of the polymer was absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and any material absorbed is rapidly excreted. [2]
In a similar study, another group recovered 94% of the radioactive-labelled polymer within 72 h of dosing. Little radioactivity was recovered in urine (<0.1%) while tissue/carcass accounted for <0.01%. [3]
Acrylates copolymer mixed as a slurry in 10% ethanol produced only 'slight erythema' in 20% of the 25 human subjects in a 48 h patch test. It was concluded that acrylates copolymer was 'not likely' to be a skin sensitizer. A photosensitization study using UV light was carried out on 28 human subjects and after 2 weeks, it was also concluded that acrylates copolymer was 'not likely to be photoallergenic or photosensitizing'. [4]
Counterintuitively, pulmonary lesions were observed in rats after subchronic inhalation exposure, but not in the chronic inhalation study. [5] It is hypothesized that the initial exposure triggered an immune response which later subsided with time.
In a study involving 20 rats and 10 rabbits, no signs of maternal toxicity were observed and there were no reproductive or developmental effects observed. [6]
For genotoxicity studies, acrylates copolymer was not mutagenic in the Ames test. [5]
In conclusion, carbomer as acrylates copolymer is fairly inert. It is rapidly excreted after ingestion showing no signs of accumulation. It has minimal effects on contact, but irritation is possible after inhalation. There is no reproductive toxicity observed and it shows no signs of carcinogenicity or genotoxicity.
Scientific References:
2. Final report of the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel Safety Assessment of Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA), Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, and Methyl Methacrylate/Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer. (Int J Toxicol. 2011;30(Suppl 1):54S-65S)
3. Toxicological assessment of Anionic Methacrylate Copolymer: I. Characterization, bioavailability and genotoxicity. (Regul.Toxicol Pharmacol. 2016;82:39-47.)
4. Copolymer of vinyl acetate, butyl maleate and isobornyl acrylate in ethanol. (National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS), File No: NA/63.)
5. Final report on the Safety Assessment of Acrylates Copolymer and 33 Related Cosmetic Ingredients. (Int J Toxicol. 2002;21(Suppl 3):1-50.)
6. Characterisation and toxicological assessment of Neutral Methacrylate Copolymer for GRAS evaluation. (Regul.Toxicol Pharmacol. 2013;67(3):392-408)

Safety and Hazards (UN GHS):

1. Harmful if swallowed (H302)
2. Toxic in contact with skin (H311)
3. Harmful in contact with skin (H312)
4. Causes severe skin burns and eye damage (H314)
5. Causes skin irritation (H315)
6. Causes serious eye damage (H318)
7. Causes serious eye irritation (H319)
8. Toxic if inhaled (H331)
9. Harmful if inhaled (H332)
10. May cause respiratory irritation (H335)
11. May cause genetic defects (H340)
12. May cause cancer (H350)
13. Causes damage to organs (H370)
14. May cause damage to organs (H371)
15. Causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure (H372)
16. Very toxic to aquatic life (H400)
17. Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects (H411)
18. Harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects (H412)

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