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Ammonium Persulfate, Potassium Persulfate and Sodium Persulfate are inorganic salts. In cosmetics and personal care products, mixtures of persulfates such as Ammonium Persulfate, Potassium Persulfate and Sodium Persulfate are used in hair bleaches and hair lighteners.
Ammonium Persulfate, Potassium Persulfate and Sodium Persulfate help to decolorize or lighten hair by oxidizing the colors present in the hair shaft.
Ammonium Persulfate is also used in the baking industry as a bleaching agent for flour.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the safety of Ammonium Persulfate and approved its use as a multipurpose food additive (< 0.075%) for direct addition to food, and as an indirect food additive in industrial starch (< 0.3%, or < 0.6% in alkaline starch). The safety of Ammonium, Potassium and Sodium Persulfate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Ammonium, Potassium, and Sodium Persulfate were safe as used as oxidizing agents in hair colorants and lighteners designed for brief discontinuous use followed by thorough rinsing from the hair and skin.
CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel considered the sensitization potential of the Persulfates, including the potential of a hive reaction (urticaria) to these ingredients. The greatest concentration of Persulfates tested was 17.5% (under occlusive patches), yet data submitted to CIR reported that Persulfates are used in hair lighteners at concentrations of 60%. It was assumed that, in normal use (not occluded and rinsed off), a concentration greater than 17.5% would also be safe. The CIR Expert Panel concluded that manufacturers and formulators should be aware of the potential for urticarial reactions at concentrations of Persulfates greater than 17.5%.
Link to the Code of Federal Regulations for Ammonium Persulfate
Ammonium, Potassium and Sodium Persulfate may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.
Australia's National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme has a Safety Info Sheet on Ammonium, Potassium, and Sodium Persulfate for hairdressers
The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives determined that it is not possible to estimate an acceptable Ammonium Persulfate treatment level of flour.
Nevertheless it is not considered necessary to discontinue the use of persulfates.
Ammonium, Potassium and Sodium Persulfate are oxidizing agents which accelerate the bleaching process of peroxide hair bleaches.
Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration
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