MEPs approve stricter version of EU cosmetics legislation

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Eu cosmetics directive European union European parliament

The amended recast of the EU Cosmetics Directive, approved yesterday by MEPs, contains stricter requirements for nanomaterials and CMRs.

European Parliament voted in favour of the updated EU legislation following a last-minute agreement between the Parliament and Council representatives on areas of controversy.

Treatment of nanomaterials

Nanomaterials, which were present in about 5 per cent of cosmetics in 2006, according to the Commission, are one such area. The recast now requires companies to label any nanomaterials present in cosmetics in the ingredients list on the packaging.

A safety assessment procedure will also be established for all products containing nanomaterials. Any manufacturer adding nanomaterials to a beauty product must inform the Commission 6 months before launch. The Commission will then consult a committee of experts.

The regulation also contains a definition of a nanomaterial as “an insoluble or bio-resistant and intentionally manufactured material with one or more external dimensions, or an internal structure, on the scale from 1 to 100 nm.”

Tightening rules on CMRs

Another area where the European Parliament pushed for a tightening of the recast is substances classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMRs).

The original proposal basically forbid the use of these substances but allowed their use in some exceptional cases under strict conditions. These “exceptional cases”​ have now been tightened up under the compromise between Parliament and the Council.

Common criteria for product claims

One final area where the Parliament successfully pushed for changes to the original proposals was on the subject of product claims.

The new regulation seeks to ensure that only the real effects of a product can be mentioned in advertising and labelling. The Commission will draw up an action plan and adopt a list of common criteria for the use of product claims.

Industry reaction

European trade body Colipa welcomed the approval by the Parliament of the updated EU legislation.

“This legislative process has benefited significantly from a high level of quality input and commitment from all parties,”​ said Bertil Heerink, Colipa’s Director-General.

The regulation will enter into force 20 days after publication in the EU Official Journal and will apply 42 months later, although certain parts on CMRs and nanomaterials will apply from an earlier stage.

Overall aims of the regulation

The updated regulation will replace the EU Cosmetics Directive from 1976 which, according to the European Commission, had become a “patchwork” of 55 amendments without coherent terminology.

By replacing 3,500 pages of legal text and 27 transposing pieces of national legislation with one regulation, the Commission hopes to ease the administrative burden of the law, remove national differences that do not contribute to product safety and rid the system of any uncertainties and inconsistencies.

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