Knesset committee: too much Botox poses health risk

While the US has legal limits on the amount of the toxin that can be used, Israel does not.

A woman receiving a Botox injection (photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
A woman receiving a Botox injection
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
The botulinum toxin – commonly known as Botox and used to minimize facial wrinkles and achieve other aesthetic preferences – is used too freely by doctors and cosmeticians and poses a health risk, emeritus microbiology Prof. Bracha Rager of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev said at a meeting of the Knesset’s Science and Technology Committee on Tuesday.
Rager, who is outgoing chairman of the Council for Regulation of Research in Biological Diseases, told the committee that US law prohibits the use of certain amounts of botulinum toxin, but that there is no limit on its use in Israel. Neurological diseases such as tics and hyperhidrosis that require only a small amount of the toxin should be exempted from limitations, she said, but under current law, “we cannot stop the use” of larger amounts.
“The problem is the quantities,” Rager said. “If there is no obligation to report on small quantities, we won’t be able to know who ordered the quantities. As far as I am concerned, the safety officer in the institution is responsible for the quantity after reporting to us.”
Dr. Leah Walinsky, director of the molecular biology unit in the Health Ministry, added: “We need to examine whether there are institutional committees that are more stringent and more flexible. As for Botox, I personally would not inject this toxin myself.”
On a separate topic, committee chairman MK Uri Maklev called on the council to demand proper protection in research institutions working with dangerous substances: “This is one of the most sensitive issues today, certainly when we talk about pathogens that could harm many people.” The committee was meeting to discuss the council’s report on its activities in 2015 and 2016.