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Data: Fair

Polysorbate 20

  • This ingredient's score is higher if used in products that may not meet industry safety guidelines or U.S. and international government requirements and may have contamination concerns from toxic impurities. The score will be lower if used in products that do meet these safety guidelines and requirements and EWG’s contamination restrictions.

IMAGE SOURCE: PubChem

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Other Concerns

Use restrictions (low), Non-reproductive organ system toxicity (low), Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs) (low), and Contamination concerns (high)

SYNONYMS

● MONODODECANOATE POLY(OXY-1,2-ETHANEDIYL) DERIVS. SORBITAN
● POLY(OXY-1,2-ETHANEDIYL) DERIVS. SORBITAN, MONODODECANOATE
● POLYOXYETHYLENE (20) SORBITAN MONOLAURATE
● POLYOXYETHYLENE SORBITAN MONOLAURATE
● POLYSORBATE 20
● POLYSORBATE-20
● POYLSORBATE-20
● SORBIMACROGOL LAURATE 300
● SORBITAN, MONODODECANOATE, POLY(OXY-1,2-ETHANEDIYL) DERIVS.
● TWEEN-20

Restricted

Restricted: EWG VERIFIED products cannot contain this ingredient without adequate substantiation


Polysorbate 20 (Tween 20) is a surfactant and emulsifier used in cleaners and personal care products.

Common concerns

See how this product scores for common concerns.

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

Ingredient concerns

  • CONCERNS
  • DATA SOURCES

Products with this Ingredient

Expand content Collapse content
shampoo246 products
facial moisturizer/treatment212 products
serums & essences208 products
body wash/cleanser168 products
hair styling aide151 products
mask128 products
foundation127 products
conditioner125 products
moisturizer123 products
hair treatment/serum122 products
exfoliant/scrub121 products
facial cleanser119 products
toners/astringents107 products
styling gel/lotion101 products
liquid hand soap92 products
around-eye cream83 products
baby wipes73 products
eye liner64 products
daily use with SPF61 products
styling mousse/foam55 products
body spray48 products
bronzer/highlighter45 products
makeup remover44 products
hair spray42 products
sunless tanning41 products
CC cream39 products
recreational sunscreen37 products
anti-aging29 products
mouthwash27 products
antiperspirant/deodorant26 products
makeup primer26 products
hand sanitizer24 products
after sun product23 products
eye shadow23 products
setting powder/spray20 products
bath oil/salts/soak19 products
blush19 products
hand cream18 products
body cleansing wipes18 products
brow liner17 products
lipstick16 products
mascara15 products
hair color and bleaching15 products
detangler15 products
bubble bath14 products
shaving cream13 products
body firming lotion13 products
facial cleansing wipes12 products
after shave11 products
BB cream11 products
facial powder10 products
antiperspirant/deodorant (men's)9 products
9 products
concealer8 products
baby lotion8 products
foot moisturizer7 products
hair-loss treatment7 products
shaving cream (men's)6 products
makeup removing wipes6 products
body oil5 products
polish remover5 products
other eye makeup5 products
lip liner5 products
nail treatment4 products
baby shampoo4 products
skin fading/lightener4 products
baby sunscreen4 products
beard care4 products
eye makeup remover3 products
baby soap3 products
muscle/joint soreness3 products
cuticle treatment3 products
foot odor control3 products
lip balm3 products
beard cleanser3 products
foot cleansing2 products
tanning oil2 products
lip gloss2 products
glitter2 products
eyelash glue2 products
baby oil2 products
baby bubble bath1 products
fragrance for men1 products
fragrance for women1 products
depilatory1 products
beard oil1 products
diaper cream1 products
nail polish1 products
lip plumper1 products
baby powder1 products
nail glue1 products
body art1 products

Contamination concerns

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Allergies/immunotoxicity

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Limited evidence of any toxicity or allergiesOpen scientific literature

Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Limited evidence of sense organ toxicityScorecard.org Toxicity Information
Classified as not expected to be potentially toxic or harmfulEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Classified as a low human health priorityEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs)

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CONCERN REFERENCE
any irritation - weight of evidence unknown/unassessedOpen scientific literature

Use restrictions

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Determined safe for use in cosmetics, subject to concentration or use limitations - anyOpen scientific literature

Data gaps

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Risk assessment method deficiencies and data gaps - Maximum reported "as used" concentration is basis of safety assessment by industry safety panel (Cosmetic Ingredient Review, CIR) - implicit safe concentration limit in productCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
2265 studies in PubMed science library may include information on the toxicity of this chemicalNLM PubMed

Multiple, additive exposure sources

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Designated as safe for general or specific, limited use in foodFDA Food Additive Status
Designated as safe for general or specific, limited use in foodFDA Everything Added to Food

Informational

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Industry or government recommendations for safe use: restrictions on concentration, impurities, product types, or manufacturing methods - anyCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments

Ecotoxicology

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Not suspected to be an environmental toxinEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
  • Open scientific/peer reviewed literature
  • ED (Environmental Defense). 2006. Scorecard _ The Pollution Information Site. http://www.scorecard.org.
  • 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.
  • FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) 2006. Food Additive Status List. Downloaded from http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/%7Edms/opa-appa.html, Oct 16, 2006.
  • 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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