Evaluation of ocular irritancy of coal-tar dyes used in cosmetics employing reconstructed human cornea-like epithelium and short time exposure tests

Miri Lee, Ki Taek Nam, Jungah Kim, Song E. Lim, Sang Hyeon Yeon, Buhyun Lee, Joo Young Lee, Kyung Min Lim

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Coal-tar dyes in cosmetics may elicit adverse effects in the skin and eyes. Countries, like the US, have banned the use of coal-tar dyes in cosmetics for the eye area due to the potential for ocular irritation. We evaluated the eye irritation potential of 15 coal-tar dyes permitted as cosmetic ingredients in reconstructed human cornea-like epithelium (RhCEs [EpiOcular™ and MCTT HCE™]) tests and the short time exposure (STE) test. Eosin YS, phloxine B, tetrachlorotetrabromofluorescein, and tetrabromofluorescein were identified as irritants in RhCEs; dibromofluorescein and uranine yielded discrepant results. STE enabled further classification in accordance with the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, as follows: eosin YS as Cat 2; phloxine B, Cat 1; and tetrachlorotetrabromofluorescein and tetrabromofluorescein, Cat 1/2. STE indicated dibromofluorescein (irritant in EpiOcular™) and uranine (irritant in MCTT HCE™) as No Cat, resulting in the classification of “No prediction can be made.” based on bottom-up approach with each model. These results demonstrated that in vitro eye irritation tests can be utilized to evaluate the potential ocular irritancy of cosmetic ingredients and provide significant evidence with which to determine whether precautions should be given for the use of coal-tar dyes in cosmetics or other substances applied to the eye area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-243
Number of pages8
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology

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