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Killer colours

About the author: 

Most cosmetic colours are considered capable of causing cancer - such as D&C reds 2, 3, 4, 10, 17 and 23; and FD&C red 10 and blue 4 - and are banned from US and European cosmetics, but the following carcinogens can be regularly found in illegally imported cosmetics from other countries

Most cosmetic colours are considered capable of causing cancer - such as D&C reds 2, 3, 4, 10, 17 and 23; and FD&C red 10 and blue 4 - and are banned from US and European cosmetics, but the following carcinogens can be regularly found in illegally imported cosmetics from other countries.


Common name US Europe E number CAS


Pigment red 53 sodium salt D&C red 8 CI15585 - 2092-56-0
Pigment red 53 barium salt D&C red 9 CI15585 - 5160-02-1
Rhodamine B D&C red 19 CI45170 - -
Alizarine cyanine green F D&C green 5 CI61570 - 4403-90-1
Pigment orange 5 D&C orange 17 CI12075 - -
CI Disperse Blue 1 Disperse Blue 1 CI64500 - 2475-45-8
CI Disperse Yellow 3 Disperse Yellow 3 CI3/1185 - 2832-40-8
Fast green FCF FD&C green 3 CI42053 - 2353-45-9
Ponceau SX FD&C red 4 CI14700 - 4548-53-2
Tartrazine FD&C yellow 5 CI19140 E102 1934-21-0
Sunset yellow FD&C yellow 6 CI15985 E110 2781-94-0
Brilliant blue FCF FD&C blue 1 CI42090 E133 3844-45-9
Indigo carmine FD&C blue 2 CI73015 E132 860-22-0


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