The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Thailand recently proposed removing citronella oil from the list of hazardous substances.
Citronella oil (substance number 99, CAS number: 8000-29-1) is commonly used for household or public hygiene purposes to prevent, control, repel, and eliminate insects and other animals. It is currently classified as a Type 1 hazardous substance.
Reasons for concern in relation to citronella oil are listed in the following:
1) human health risks: Based on the acute toxicity data of citronella oil to laboratory animals, a conclusion can be drawn that there was no clear evidence to prove that the oil is toxic or carcinogenic to humans. Although the data indicates that citronella oil causes skin and eye irritation in laboratory animals, these are just side effects that occur only in individuals who come into contact with the oil.
2) environmental risks: according to the environmental toxicity data, citronella oil will not persist in the environment. Although reports asserted that citronella oil may cause mild toxicity to aquatic organisms, the odds of aquatic organisms coming into contact with citronella oil is very low.
3) exposure risks: although insecticide users may contact with citronella oil, it is possible to avoid exposure to the substance based on toxicity data. Therefore, a conclusion can be drawn that citronella oil has low toxicity and will not cause chronic toxicity or carcinogenicity.
Moreover, citronella oil is currently used in consumer products for purposes other than insect repellent. For example, it can be used as a natural flavoring agent by the food industry or as a fragrance in some consumer products such as perfumes and herbal ointments, which indicates that exposure to citronella oil exists in our daily life.
If Thailand removes citronella oil from the list of hazardous substances, it will benefit both enterprises and the Thai FDA since it would not impose unreasonable burdens on FDA notifications. Moreover, manufacturers and importers of citronella oil would no longer be subject to FDA supervision, nor would they need to provide manufacturer information or comply with other standards such as labeling, manufacturing, and storage rules.
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