Cosmetic products recalled due to hazardous content

By Louise Prance

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, Cosmetics

Three new cosmetic products have been recalled from the European
market due to the hazardous chemicals they contain, highlighted by
RAPEX, the EU alert system for dangerous consumer goods.

Nail polishes from the Netherlands and the UK and a hair care product from Bulgaria were listed by the Rapid Alert System for Non-Food Products (RAPEX) as banned products due to the harmful ingredients found in the formulations. RAPEX, the EU rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products, highlighted that the products were a sufficient risk to the health of consumers, in particular unborn children and as a threat to fertility. The nail varnish, Black Onyx Glow from the Netherlands was found to contain dibutyl phthalate, which is prohibited in cosmetics under the cosmetics directive 76/768/EEC due to the harmful effects to the male and female reproductive organs. Likewise, the Lanache nail varnish found in the UK also contained a volume of 0.2 per cent and 4.5 per cent of dibutyl phthalate. Both companies were ordered to surrender any remaining products they held, with both doing so voluntarily. The Anticedin hair care lotion was recalled due to the lead acetate chemical contained, with an immediate sales ban and consumer product recall ordered by the commission. The recalls come following the implementation of the EU REACH laws - legislation that is already affecting European cosmetic manufacturers and the types of chemicals they use. Currently some 30,000 chemicals are being tested and reviewed by the newly formed European Chemicals Agency (EChA), with the aim of banning those that pose a significant health threat and finding safer substitutes, many other manufacturers will no doubt find themselves having to surrender hazardous personal care products. As a result of the law, big business, downstream users and the cosmetics industry will all be expected to carry the onus on the safety status of the chemicals they use. The European Commission estimated the new law would cost the chemical industry between €2.8bn and €5.2bn over the next decade. But, on the plus side, the law would save Europe €54bn over 30 years, as less people would become ill as a result of exposure to dangerous chemicals, it claimed. While the law comes into force now, it is not until June 1, 2008 when manufacturers, importers, distributors and users must be registering with the EChA. If a producer pre-registers before December 1, 2008, then it is granted the right to spread the full registration over the 11 years to 2019, depending on the tonnage produced. REACH replaces much of the current patchwork of over 40 pieces of EU legislation relating to chemicals, and means businesses will now need to prove the safety of thousands of chemicals previously not regulated. The new law also aims to encourage the replacement of hazardous chemicals with safer ones and to spur the chemical sector into researching and developing more new products. It is expected it will take about four years before the first substances are either registered or banned.

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