Phosphoric Acid

What Is It?

Phosphoric Acid occurs as a white solid or as a colorless, viscous liquid. In cosmetics and personal care products, Phosphoric Acid is used in the formulation of a wide variety of product types, including bath products, cleansing products, fragrances, hair care products, hair dyes and colors, makeup, mouthwashes, nail products and skin care products.

Why Is It Used?

Phosphoric Acid is used to control the pH of cosmetics and personal care products.

Scientific Facts

Phosphoric Acid, also called to as orthophosphoric acid, is often found in colas and is used to acidify foods, where it provides a tangy taste. Phosphates are found pervasively in biology, especially in the compounds derived from phosphorylated sugars, such as DNA and RNA and adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed the safety of Phosphoric Acid and determined that it is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) as a multipurpose food substance. Phosphoric Acid is also approved for use as an indirect food additive. It may be used as an adjuvant and production aid to modify starch for use in food packaging.

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives has established a Maximum Tolerable Daily Intake of 70 mg/kg body weight (as phosphorus from all sources) for Phosphoric Acid.

The FDA’s Select Committee on GRAS Substances (SCOGS) concluded that there was no evidence in the available information on Phosphoric Acid that demonstrates, or suggests reasonable grounds to suspect, a hazard to the public when it is used at levels that are now current or might reasonably be expected in the future.

Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Phosphoric Acid

The Environmental Protection Agency has conducted a chronic health hazard assessment for noncarcinogenic effects of Phosphoric Acid. 

Phosphoric Acid 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.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:…

More Scientific Information

Phosphoric Acid is an inorganic acid. In cosmetics and personal care products, Phosphoric Acid functions as a pH adjuster.


Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration

Food Ingredients and Packaging:

Food Contact Substances:…

Substances Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS):

Search the Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetics Inventory