What is benzyl alcohol?
It can be both synthetic and naturally occurring, in things like fruits and essential oils
It's used as a solvent (i.e. to prevent lumps and to ensure a smooth liquid).
It's used as a fragrance ingredient, and it's used as a preservative, and as a solvent (i.e. to prevent lumps and to ensure a smooth liquid).
It's used in head lice treatments, and for cold sores.
Is benzyl benzoate safe?
EWG Skin Deep rating: 6 (moderate hazard)
There's strong evidence on neurotoxicity, it's toxic to humans and it's a possible allergen.
It's especially problematic for newborns, who can't metabolize benzyl alcohol like healthy adults do. In the 1980's, there were a number of infant deaths that were related to the use of benzyl alcohol as a preservative in a saline solution. Accordingly, it's not recommended that benzyl alcohol be used on infants at all.
Also known as:
Chemical of the Day: http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/todays-chemical/2009/7/22/benzyl-alcohol.html
EWG Skin Deep Database: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/700697/BENZYL_ALCOHOL/
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