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Data: Fair

Methyl Salicylate

  • Products with the EWG VERIFIED mark have met use restrictions and warnings based on EWG review of company data.

IMAGE SOURCE: PubChem

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Other Concerns

Enhanced skin absorption and Use restrictions (high)

SYNONYMS

2-CARBOMETHOXYPHENOL, 2-HYDROXY- METHYL ESTER BENZOIC ACID, 2-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, METHYL ESTER, BENZOIC ACID, 2-HYDROXY-, METHYL ESTER, BENZOIC ACID, 2HYDROXY, METHYL ESTER, BIRCH OIL, SWEET, METHYL 2-HYDROXYBENZOATE, METHYL ESTER 2-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, METHYL ESTER BENZOIC ACID, 2-HYDROXY-, METHYL ESTER SALICY LIC ACID, METHYL SALICYLATE, OIL (BETULA LENTA L.) BIRCH, SWEET, OIL OF WINTERGREEN, SALICY LIC ACID, METHYL ESTER, SWEET BIRCH OIL, and SWEET OIL (BETULA LENTA L.) BIRCH

Unacceptable

Unacceptable: EWG VERIFIED products cannot contain this ingredient


Methyl salicylate is an anti-inflammatory ingredient common in pain relief creams for muscles and joints. Although the U.S. cosmetic industry's safety panel (Cosmetic Ingredient Review) considers this ingredient safe in products formulated to avoid irritation, a consumer's death in 2007 was linked to excessive exposure to a sports cream containing this chemical. In response, the manufacturer urged consumers to follow the directions for this over-the-counter drug.

Common concerns

See how this product scores for common concerns.

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

Ingredient concerns

  • CONCERNS
  • DATA SOURCES

Products with this Ingredient

Expand content Collapse content
mouthwash66 products
body powder6 products
foot odor control4 products
mask2 products
muscle/joint soreness2 products
foot moisturizer2 products
shampoo1 products
after shave1 products
facial moisturizer/treatment1 products
body firming lotion1 products
lip balm with SPF1 products
bath oil/salts/soak1 products
moisturizer1 products

Enhanced skin absorption

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Penetration enhancerOpen scientific literature

Allergies/immunotoxicity

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Known human any toxicant or allergenOpen scientific literature

Use restrictions

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Violation of government restrictions - Restricted in cosmetics; use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - anyOpen scientific literature
Violation of industry recommendations - Restricted in cosmetics; use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - anyOpen scientific literature
Restricted in cosmetics (recommendations or requirements) - use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - Use is restricted in Canadian cosmeticsCanada - Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetics Ingredients
Determined safe for use in cosmetics, subject to concentration or use limitations - Safe for use in cosmetics with some qualificationsCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments

Developmental/reproductive toxicity

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Limited evidence of reproductive toxicityScorecard.org Toxicity Information

Cancer

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Limited or incomplete evidence of cancer according to safety/hazard data – scientific review cannot classify as human carcinogen due to data gapsOpen scientific literature

Data gaps

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Risk assessment method deficiencies and data gaps - anyOpen scientific literature
2466 studies in PubMed science library may include information on the toxicity of this chemicalNLM PubMed

Ecotoxicology

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Not suspected to be an environmental toxinEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Classified as not expected to be potentially toxic or harmfulEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Persistence and bioaccumulation

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Not suspected to be persistentEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Not suspected to be bioaccumulativeEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Informational

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Industry or government recommendations for safe use: restrictions on concentration, impurities, product types, or manufacturing methods - anyOpen scientific literature

Multiple, additive exposure sources

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Designated as safe for general or specific, limited use in foodFDA Everything Added to Food
  • Open scientific/peer reviewed literature
  • Health Canada. 2007. List of Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetic Ingredients. Canada's Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. March 2007.
  • CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review). 2006. CIR Compendium, containing abstracts, discussions, and conclusions of CIR cosmetic ingredient safety assessments. Washington DC.
  • ED (Environmental Defense). 2006. Scorecard _ The Pollution Information Site. http://www.scorecard.org.
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2012. PubMed online scientific bibliography data. http://www.pubmed.gov.
  • EC (Environment Canada). 2008. Domestic Substances List Categorization. Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) Environmental Registry.
  • FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). 2008. EAFUS [Everything Added to Food]: A Food Additive Database. FDA Office of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

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

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