EC responds on CMR carcinogens ban in cosmetics

By Lucy Whitehouse contact

- Last updated on GMT

EC responds on CMR carcinogens ban in cosmetics
The European Commission's move last year to clarify how carcinogenic substances in cosmetics are regulated was met with criticism, and the EC has now responded.

Traditionally, if a substance is classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic for reproduction (CMR) under the CLP Regulation in Europe, it has been considered automatically banned for use in cosmetics.

However, in September 2016, the Commission stated that the use of CMR substances in cosmetics should have specific act in the relevant annexes of the cosmetics regulation devoted to it.

Denmark’s minister for environment and food criticised the move by the EC in a public letter,​ and suggested the Commission was putting consumers at potential risk, to which the Commission has now responded.

Response from the EC: increased safety

A Commission spokesperson told Cosmetics Design that rather than putting consumers at risk, its clarification on CMR substances is intended to protect cosmetics users better.

"The Commission takes consumer health very seriously and is continuously reviewing measures to better protect the public from new health risks. That's why we propose to tighten the ban on substances classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic for reproduction (CMR substances) in cosmetic products,”​ they said.

“While these substances are already automatically banned, the Commission proposes to add legal certainty by requiring specific regulatory measures to ban CMR substances under the Cosmetics Regulation. This will provide more clarity for manufacturers and national authorities as well as improve consumer safety protection, ensuring that only substances which are safe can be placed and maintained on the market."

Next steps: amended regulation

In terms of next steps, the EC explained that amendments will now be made to the relevant parts of the EU’s cosmetics regulations.

“The Commission has informed Member States of this intention at the Cosmetics working group of 21 September 2016 and plans to introduce these bans by amending the relevant Annexes of the Cosmetics Regulation."

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