Health Canada Warns About MI/MCI in Leave-on Products


Formulators and beauty product manufacturers take note: Health Canada is warning about the risks of products that contain a combination of methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone (MI/MCI) within leave-on consumer products.

MI/MCI in Canada 

Health Canada published an alert regarding the "risks related to certain preservatives in cosmetic, non-prescription and natural health products" and the combination of MI/MCI within leave-on consumer products. Leave-on consumer products can be anything from skin moisturizers to diaper rash products. As of June 14, 2016 all products containing MI/MCI preservatives intended for use by children should no longer be available for purchase, according to Health Canada. All other products may not be available after December 31, 2016.

"In our consulting practice we have seen very few issues with this preservative system and were surprised with the urgency of the regulatory actions taken," Focal Point Research Inc. noted in a report. 

According to the update, symptoms such as itching, swelling, burning or blisters can occur when someone uses a product containing MI/MCI and may even become more severe with prolonged use. These preservatives can also be found in rinse-off products, such as shampoos and body washes but are not subject to this regulatory action.

Health Canada has asked consumers to check the ingredient lists on product labels of their leave-on cosmetics in order to make sure that that the combination of MI/MCI is not present. If these preservatives are found in rinse-off products and are causing sensitivity, the consumer is asked to discontinue use. It also provided points of contact in case of an adverse reaction related to consumer products containing this combination.


In other developments, on May 4, 2016, the Quebec provincial government introduced draft regulations proposing amendments to the Charter of the French Language, also known as Bill 101. 

Historically, in the province of Quebec, store signs were allowed to be in English only if the name was trademarked. However, new amendments would require public signage that displays English trademarks to also include a French description of the business or another presence of French within the signage.

Under these new proposed amendments, businesses will still be able to use their recognized trademarks in a language other than French but will need to demonstrate a "sufficient presence of French."This means either a generic term of the product, a slogan or any other term that may be deemed sufficient by the government.

Trademark law is a federal responsibility, however, the government hopes to frame the regulation as a Commerce issue making it a provincial responsibility. Existing businesses will have three years to comply with the new regulations once they are officially adopted. The public and interested stakeholders are invited to participate in the consultation and can submit written comments up until June 18, 2016 to Hélène David, the Minister of Culture and Communications. Product labels follow the same rules. A product name does not have to be translated into French if it is trademarked.


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