Currently the Cosmetics Directive classifies dichloromethane as a category 3 carcinogen, while chloroacetamide is classified as a category 3 mutagenic or reproductive toxin.
The Commission says that the objective of the exercise is to gather comments from interested parties and to then proceed by consulting its Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) to see if the classifications for the ingredients should be reconsidered.
The gray area in Category 3 substances
According to the Cosmetics Directive, a substance with a category 3 evaluation – whether it is deemed to be a potential toxin or carcinogen - may be used in cosmetics if it has been evaluated by the SCCNFP and found acceptable for formulation.
The European Commission last consulted with the SCCNFP about category 3 substances back in 2004 and it returned its opinion on 25 May of that year that under Annex 1 of the Directive all substances listed as CM3 at that time would be prohibited.
However, at the time chloroacetamide was also listed for use under Annex VI as an authorised preservative up to a concentration of 0.3 per cent, while dichloromethane was listed for use as a solvent in Annex III up to a concentration of 35 per cent.
Ambiguity of classification calls for re-assessment
Because of the ambiguity in the classification the European Commission says it wants to re-evaluate the safety of both substances through the consultation process, both public and with the SCCS.
Interested parties may submit scientific data on either substance to the European Commission, at the department of Directorate General Enterprise and Industry at this email@example.com" target="_blank">email address. (firstname.lastname@example.org" target="_self">email@example.com)