METHODS: The Bovine Corneal Opacity and Permeability test method (BCOP), OECD Test Guideline 437, was used as an initial step to study the inducing effect of palm-based MES on irreversible eye damage. The second assessment involved the use of reconstructed human corneal-like epithelium test method, OECD Test Guideline 492 using SkinEthic™ Human Corneal Epithelium to study the potential effect of palm-based MES on eye irritancy. The palm-based MES were prepared in 10% solution (w/v) in deionized water and tested as a liquid and surfactant test substances whereby both test conducted according to the liquid/surfactant treatment protocol.
RESULTS: The preliminary BCOP results showed that palm-based MES; C12, C14, C16, C16:18 were not classified as severe eye irritants test substances with in vitro irritancy score between 3 and the threshold level of 55. The second evaluation using SkinEthic™ HCE model showed that palm-based MES; C12, C14, C16, C16:18 and three commercial samples were potentially irritants to the eyes with mean tissue viability ≤ 60% and classified as Category 2 according to United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. However, there are some limitations of the proposed ocular irritation classification of palm-based MES due to insolubility of long chain MES in 10% solution (w/v) in deionized water.
CONCLUSION: Therefore, future studies to clarify the eye irritation potential of the palm-based MES will be needed, and could include; methods to improve the test substance solubility, use of test protocol for solids, and/or inclusion of a benchmark anionic surfactant, such as sodium dodecyl sulphate within the study design.