Determination of hexavalent chromium in cosmetic products by ion chromatography and postcolumn derivatization

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Chromium hydroxide green [Cr2O(OH)4] and chromium oxide green (Cr2O3) are colouring agents for use in cosmetic products. These colourants may contain chromium (VI), which cause skin allergies through percutaneous adsorption on the skin. Eye shadow is a representative cosmetic product in which significant colourants are used. We analysed the chromium (VI) in the eye shadows by ion chromatography and post column derivatization. We optimize conditions of chromium (VI) analysis in eye shadows. During the pretreatment procedure, there are no exchange of chromium (III) to chromium (VI). This method has a limit of quantification for chromium (VI) of 1.0 μg l−1, recovery rate of 100 ± 3% and analysis time less than 10 min. This result is 300 times more sensitive than the high-performance liquid chromatography method. We applied the optimized method to analyse 22 eye shadows and 6 colouring agents. 2 out of 22 of the products contained more than 5 mg l−1. In our previous work, 5 mg l−1 of Cr represented a threshold level. There was much more Cr(VI) in the colouring agents. The Cr(VI) in one of the colouring agents was 97.6 mg l−1.

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