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Canada keeps a close eye on solvent Violet 13, used in cosmetics, among other applications


Solvent Violet 13 is used to dye hydrocarbon products like solvents and petrol, thermoplastics, synthetic resins, e.g. polystyrenes, and synthetic fiber. It is also used in cosmetics, e.g. in hair and skin care products and in pyrotechnics to colour some violet smoke compositions.

According to a draft conclusion from the Canadian government, this colourant is harmful to human health at current levels of exposure.

If confirmed, the conclusion would most likely trigger risk management measures against the substance. However, Industry has said that the assessment does not take into account the most recent toxicity data available in the REACH registration dossier of this substance.

The government published a draft screening assessment of seven anthraquinone substances on 3 November. The seven substances were originally part of a group of 15 anthraquinones prioritised under the Chemicals Management Plan. The government previously assessed eight of the 15 and found that they were of low concern.

The remaining seven are:

    • solvent violet 13;
  • pigment blue 60;
  • solvent violet 59;
  • solvent blue 36;
  • disperse red 60;
  • acid blue 239; and
  • “9,10-Anthracenedione, 1,4-diamino-, N,N’-mixed 2-ethylhexyl”, including methyl- and pentyl- derivatives.

The assessment used the “ecological risk classification of organic substances” approach to predicting the environmental risks, which was published in 2016 by Environment and Climate Change Canada. This led to the conclusion that all seven substances represented a low risk of harm to the environment.

However, the Colourants Trade Association Etad, has said that some of the data gaps identified in the assessment can be filled, reducing uncertainty in the risk characterisation. The government has started a 60-day public consultation, which closes on 2 January.