EU Strictly Regulating Cosmetic Safety
Through rigorous regulation, the European Union (EU) has been working to make sure that consumers use safe cosmetics. Enacted in 1976, the European Union Cosmetics Directive have been transposed by the 27 European Union Member States into national law. To this end, the commission has been given broad regulatory authority to regulate cosmetics within the respective national boundaries of each member state where health authorities have been assigned.
As part of its cosmetic regulatory and safety process, cosmetic manufacturers must comply with any established restrictions on cosmetic ingredients and products, list all ingredients on the product label, and ensure product safety prior to marketing. As part of its safety evaluation, any potential risk from a cosmetic product is assessed before being placed on the market.
It is the responsibility of the EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety to review all active and special cosmetic ingredients and assess prevailing conditions for its safe use. Subsequently, the results obtained from its evaluation are published on their website.
The cosmetic and personal care industry in the EU is regulated to provide consumers with a high degree of safety. Citing recent actions taken in the EU to ban or red flag the use of certain chemicals in cosmetics, it is obvious that the commission is strict with its cosmetic regulatory process.
A list of approximately 1,300 banned ingredients from an examination of Annex II of the EU cosmetics Directive reveals that a significant number of the chemicals are neither used nor have they ever been used in Europe. For instance substances like carbon monoxide and various petroleum refinery byproducts, as well as jet aircraft fuel list in the EU list have not been used.
Also, the EU permits the production and distribution of products that are known to have some medicinal effects. Some of which include, lip balms, anti-caries toothpaste, and sunscreens. However, as listed in Annex II and Annex III, there are substances that are not really banned owing to their toxicity but their usages are restricted as they can only be used in specified circumstances.
Annex IV, Annex V, and Annex VI present positive lists of substances that are approved for use in cosmetics by the EU Cosmetic Regulatory agency. They include UV filters, preservatives, and coloring agents.
The scientific advisory body to the European Commission known as Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety (SCCS) is responsible for providing evaluations of substances that are currently being used or could either be used in cosmetics. Bear in mind that without the opinion of this scientific advisory body, no substance can be regulated.
Those who are responsible for placing cosmetic products on the market are required by the Cosmetics Regulatory body to ensure that the results obtained from an already performed safety evaluation are available for inspection.
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