The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel assessed the safety of triethanolamine (TEA) and 31 related TEA-containing ingredients as used in cosmetics. The TEA is reported to function as a surfactant or pH adjuster; the related TEA-containing ingredients included in this safety assessment are reported to function as surfactants and hair- or skin-conditioning agents. The exception is TEA-sorbate, which is reported to function as a preservative. The Panel reviewed the available animal and clinical data. Although data were not available for all the ingredients, the panel relied on the information available for TEA in conjunction with previous safety assessments of components of TEA-containing ingredients. These data could be extrapolated to support the safety of all included ingredients. The panel concluded that TEA and related TEA-containing ingredients named in this report are safe as used when formulated to be nonirritating. These ingredients should not be used in cosmetic products in which N-nitroso compounds can be formed.
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