Problematic chemical is popular in razors

18. nov 2015

Razors contain a number of chemicals in the so-called lubricating strip which is supposed to make shaving more comfortable. The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals recommends consumers to examine the ingredient list.


Razors with BHT in the lubricating strip
Photo: Anne Beck Christensen

11 razors contain unwanted substance

You might grab your razor off the toilet shelf several times a week when you shower or when you stand before the washbasin. And you are probably only concerned about getting a clean shave with no cuts.

However, after reviewing the ingredients of 27 razors the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals recommends that you also take a closer look on the chemicals in the lubricating strip, which is added to make the shave more comfortable.

11 out of 27 razors in the test contain the substance BHT that has shown endocrine disrupting effects in animal research. BHT is a preservative which is added to ensure that the lubricating strip is not oxidized.

“One of the objectives of The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals is to map out where potentially harmful substances are present in the consumers’ daily lives. Our screening shows that the potentially endocrine disrupting substance BHT is present in BIC and Gillette razors. But what we also found was that it is possible for a large number of manufacturers to produce razors without unwanted chemicals in the lubricating strip. Consequently, we recommend BIC and Gillette to follow their lead, and remove BHT from the razors,” says Claus Jørgensen, Senior Project Manager at the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

Claus Jørgensen points out that the effects of endocrine disrupting substances are not sufficiently covered by the current legislation which in most cases only deal with and evaluate one substance at the time.

Endocrine disrupting substances can be problematic because consumers come across these many times a day from many sources like cosmetics, floorings, food and electronics. Even though the substances might be harmless on their own they might constitute a health risk when they are combined – the so-called cocktail effect – which the current regulation does not take into account.

Spokespersons from both BIC and Gillette comment that their products are safe to use and have been thoroughly examined before placed on the market. Neither of the companies express an intention to phase out BHT from their products.

The amassed exposure constitutes risk

Chemical substances from razors might not constitute as big a risk as for example a lotion that you apply and leave on your skin for the entire day. But many little exposures can add up to a lot which in the end can have endocrine disrupting effects.

“Like we always point out in our tests it is important to note that the single product rarely is harmful to the consumer’s health. It is the amassed exposure to unwanted chemicals which can pose a risk. We recommend consumers to minimize this exposure as much as possible,” says Jørgensen.

He refers to the fact that 14 razors in the test received the best possible mark for being without any problematic substances.  

“It is positive that the consumers can easily choose a razor without unwanted substances,” he says.

Hormone disrupting chemicals are suspected to cause several ailments such as declining semen quality in boys and too early puberty in girls.

For more information, please contact:

Claus Jørgensen

Senior Project Manager
Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals

Tel +45 7741 7722 / Mobile +45 2222 7455

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