Laboratory analysis and determination of D4 and D5 siloxane content

Your needs: to monitor the use of D4 and D5 siloxane in your production processes

What do we mean by Siloxanes?

The name Siloxane is derived from Silicon, Oxygen and alkane. They are a family of chemical substances composed of primarily of silicon. Usually found in cosmetic products, (makeup, crème, deodorant…) and in cleaning as a whole, in paint, etc. They are used for they particular chemical properties: they are odorless, colorless,  non-greasy, easy to apply and dry rapidly.

This family encompasses multiple categories of substances: Cyclotetrasiloxanes (D4), Cyclopentasiloxanes (D5) and Cyclohexasiloxanes (D6). The term “silicone” can also be used to refer to siloxanes.

Why analyze siloxanes?

Found in some household products, humans can de exposed to siloxanes through skin contact or by inhalation. D4 siloxanes have been classified as endocrine disruptors by the European Union due to their suspected toxicity to the human reproductive system. However, risks linked to the use of cosmetic products containing D4 siloxanes has not yet been proven. Regarding D5 siloxanes, regulatory authorities consider its use to be risk free.

Ecological concerns have been raised surrounding the use of these two substances; D4 and D5 siloxanes are suspected to be toxic to aquatic life due to the fact that they are not biodegradable in water or living tissue.

The monitoring of scientific advances relating to the use of siloxanes and their impact on human and environmental health is an important topic in the cosmetics industry. Therefore, support from a specialized laboratory will allow you to adapt your production procedures to stay in line with changes in regulations.

Our solution: to reliably analyze and quantify the presence of D4 and D5 siloxane in your finished products to asses the risk they pose

Our analytical services for D4/D5 siloxanes

Thanks to the know-how of its team and its cutting-edge analytical fleet, FILAB laboratory is able to assist companies with analysis of D4 and D5 siloxanes and in verifying that their products comply with standards:

  • Determination and analysis of siloxane contents in your products
  • Analytical development and validation of methods for determining content in accordance with relevant ISO standards
  • R&S assistance: product substitution, reverse engineering, literature review…

D4 and D5 siloxanes are analyzable using gas chromatography (GC-MS) due to their volatility. Being organic compounds, it is possible to determine their structure using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR).

The positive aspects of FILAB

  • A highly qualified team

  • Responsiveness in responding to and processing requests

  • A complete analytical park of 2100m²

  • Tailor-made support

In Europe, the use of D4 siloxane (octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane) and D5 siloxane (decamethylcyclopentasiloxane) in wash-off cosmetic products is restricted by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) due to their potential environmental impact. The restriction applies to leave-on products that are intended to stay on the skin or hair, as well as wash-off products that are applied to areas of the body where they may be washed off and enter the environment. However, the restrictions do not apply to rinse-off products where the product is immediately rinsed off the body, such as shampoos and soaps.


The restrictions are based on the potential for these compounds to bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms and their tendency to persist in the environment. The use of D4 siloxane and D5 siloxane in other consumer products, such as adhesives, sealants, and coatings, is not restricted in Europe, although their use is subject to evaluation and may be restricted in the future if they are found to pose a risk to human health or the environment.

The fines that companies could face for violating regulations regarding siloxanes in cosmetics and other products can vary depending on the specific country and regulations involved. In Europe, the fines may be imposed by the national authorities responsible for enforcing cosmetic regulations, such as the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

If a company is found to be in violation of these regulations about siloxane analysis, they may face fines, as well as other legal consequences like product recalls or injunctions. The fines can vary widely depending on the severity of the violation and the specific country involved.

For example, in France, violations of the country's cosmetic regulations can result in fines of up to €150,000 and two years of imprisonment. In the UK, fines for violating cosmetic regulations can reach up to £20,000 per offense.

It's important to note that the fines are not the only potential legal consequence for companies. If a consumer is harmed by a product that contains excessive levels of D4/D5 siloxanes or other harmful substances, the company could also face lawsuits, damages, and reputational harm.

To avoid fines and other legal consequences, it's crucial for companies to comply with all relevant regulations and conduct proper testing and siloxane analysis of their products. To make sure your products comply with the regulations of your country, contact Filab to advise you and perform your analysis.

Siloxane analysis can be performed using a number of different analytical techniques, depending on the specific application and desired level of sensitivity. Here are some commonly used methods:


  • Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS): This is a widely used method for analyzing D4 and D5 siloxanes in environmental and personal care products. It involves separating the siloxanes from the sample matrix using gas chromatography, and then identifying and quantifying them using mass spectrometry.


  • Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS): This method is similar to GC-MS, but uses liquid chromatography instead of gas chromatography to separate the siloxanes from the sample matrix. It is often used for analyzing siloxanes in biological samples, such as blood or urine.


  • Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR): This method measures the chemical bonds between atoms in a sample, and is often used for analyzing siloxanes in silicone-based materials, such as medical devices or industrial coatings.


  • Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy: This method uses the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei to identify and quantify siloxanes in a sample. It is often used for analyzing complex mixtures of siloxanes, such as those found in silicone oils or greases.


  • Solid-phase microextraction (SPME): This method involves extracting siloxanes from a sample matrix using a small, coated fiber, which is then analyzed using GC-MS. It is often used for analyzing volatile organic compounds in air or water samples.

Each of these methods has its own advantages and limitations, and the choice of method will depend on the specific application and requirements of the analysis.

Siloxanes are commonly used in cosmetics due to their unique properties, but there are concerns about their potential impact on human health and the environment. Here are some specificities of siloxanes in cosmetics and why analyzing their content within products is important:


  1. Potential toxicity: Some research has suggested that certain siloxanes, like D4 and D5, may have endocrine-disrupting effects and could potentially be harmful to human health. This is a concern for products that are applied directly to the skin or mucous membranes, such as lipsticks or vaginal creams.


  1. Environmental impact: Siloxanes can have a negative impact on the environment, particularly when they are released into waterways through the use of wash-off products. Siloxanes like D4 and D5 have been found to bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms and can persist in the environment for long periods of time, which can have cascading effects on ecosystems.


  1. Regulatory restrictions: Due to these concerns, siloxanes like D4 and D5 are subject to regulatory restrictions in some regions, particularly in Europe. Analyzing the content of these compounds within cosmetic products can help ensure compliance with these regulations and provide consumers with information about the safety and environmental impact of the products they use.


  1. Product formulation: Analyzing the content of siloxanes within cosmetic products is also important for product formulation. Different types of siloxanes have different properties and may be more or less suitable for different types of products. Analyzing the content of siloxanes within a product can help ensure that it performs as intended and meets consumer expectations.


Analyzing the content of siloxanes within cosmetic products is important for ensuring the safety and environmental impact of these products, as well as for product formulation and compliance with regulatory requirements.


Anaïs DECAUX Customer Support Manager
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