Find products and ingredients Learn how Skin Deep® works Meet our experts Discover EWG VERIFIED™

Data: Robust

Coal Tar

Other Concerns

Use restrictions (high), Persistence and bioaccumulation (moderate), Non-reproductive organ system toxicity (high), Ecotoxicology (low), and Contamination concerns (high)

SYNONYMS

COAL TAR, COAL TAR SOLUTION, and TAR, COAL

Unacceptable

Unacceptable: EWG VERIFIED products cannot contain this ingredient


Coal Tar is a thick liquid or semi-solid obtained as a by-product in the destructive distillation ofbituminous coal. In the United States, Coal Tar may be used as an active ingredient in OTC drugproducts. When used as an active drug ingredien t, the established name is Coal Tar.

Common concerns

See how this product scores for common concerns.

  • HIGH
    Cancer
  • MODERATE
    Allergies & Immunotoxicity
  • LOW
    Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity
  • HIGH
    Use Restrictions

Ingredient concerns

  • CONCERNS
  • DATA SOURCES

Products with this Ingredient

Expand content Collapse content
shampoo6 products
hair treatment/serum2 products

Contamination concerns

Expand content Collapse content
Chemical
BENZO[A]PYRENE

Cancer

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
Known human carcinogenInt'l Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - Carcinogens
Known human carcinogenEPA Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS)
Known human carcinogenNTP Report on Carcinogens, 11th Edition
Possible human carcinogenCPS&Q - Classification & Labelling
Limited evidence of carcinogenicityNIOSH Occupational Carcinogens

Use restrictions

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
Violation of government restrictions - Banned or found unsafe for use in cosmeticsCosIng
Violation of government restrictions - Banned or found unsafe for use in cosmeticsCanada - Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetics Ingredients
Restricted in cosmetics (recommendations or requirements) - use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - anyOpen scientific literature

Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
Known human respiratory toxicantEPA Hazardous Air Pollutants
Classified as a high human health priorityEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Classified as expected to be toxic or harmfulEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Persistence and bioaccumulation

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
Persistent or bioaccumulative and moderate to high toxicity concern in humansEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Not suspected to be bioaccumulativeEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Allergies/immunotoxicity

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
Human skin toxicant or allergen - strong evidenceCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments

Ecotoxicology

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
Suspected to be an environmental toxin and be persistent or bioaccumulativeEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Suspected to be an environmental toxinEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Data gaps

Expand content Collapse content
CONCERN REFERENCE
Insufficient data to determine safetyCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
2749 studies in PubMed science library may include information on the toxicity of this chemicalNLM PubMed
  • IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer). 2008. Overall Evaluations of Carcinogenicity to Humans, as evaluated in IARC Monographs Volumes 1-99 (a total of 935 agents, mixtures and exposures).
  • EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 2008. Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). Evidence for human carcinogenicity based on 1986-2005 guidelines.
  • NTP (National Toxicology Program). 2005. Report on Carcinogens, Eleventh Edition; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program.
  • CPS&Q (Consumer Products Safety & Quality) formely known as ECB (European Chemicals Bureau). 2008. Classification and Labelling: Chemicals: Annex VI of Directive 67/548/EEC through the 31st ATP.
  • NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health). 2006. NIOSH Carcinogens List (Potential occupational carcinogens). http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npotocca.html.
  • European Commission. 2013. Cosing, the European Commission database with information on cosmetic substances and ingredients. Accessed on March 1, 2013 at http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/ .
  • Health Canada. 2007. List of Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetic Ingredients. Canada's Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. March 2007.
  • Open scientific/peer reviewed literature
  • EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 2005. Office of Air. The 112(b)1 Hazardous Air Pollutants List (as modified). Last modified: 12 Dec 2005.
  • EC (Environment Canada). 2008. Domestic Substances List Categorization. Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) Environmental Registry.
  • CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review). 2006. CIR Compendium, containing abstracts, discussions, and conclusions of CIR cosmetic ingredient safety assessments. Washington DC.
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2012. PubMed online scientific bibliography data. http://www.pubmed.gov.

Understanding scores

Cosmetics and personal care products are not required to be tested for safety before being allowed on the market. The Skin Deep® scoring system was designed to help the public understand whether a product is safe to use or whether it contains ingredients of concern.

Every product and ingredient in Skin Deep gets a two-part score – one for hazard and one for data availability. The safest products score well by both measures, with a low hazard rating and a fair or better data availability rating.

HOW WE DETERMINE SCORES

Hazard score

The Skin Deep ingredient hazard score, from 1 to 10, reflects known and suspected hazards linked to the ingredients. The EWG VERIFIED™ mark means a product meets EWG’s strictest criteria for transparency and health.

Score legend

Data availability

The Skin Deep data availability rating reflects the number of scientific studies about the product or ingredient in the published scientific literature.

NONE LIMITED FAIR GOOD ROBUST
Low Availability
Moderate Availability
High Availability

Can’t find your product?

Enter the ingredients in EWG’s Build Your Own Report tool to get an approximate score for that product.

BUILD YOUR OWN REPORT

EWG VERIFIED™
Holiday Gift Set

Get Yours with a Donation of $125

ORDER NOW