EU introduces safety assessment for cosmetics nanomaterials

24 March 2009 14:25  [Source: ICIS news]

PARIS (ICIS news)--Cosmetics products containing nanomaterials will be subject to rules on authorisation, safety testing and labelling in Europe, after the European Parliament voted on Tuesday to update existing legislation.

A majority of members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favour of updating the EU's cosmetics legislation as proposed by the European Commission and agreed by EU member states.

The new regulation introduces a safety assessment procedure for all products containing nanomaterials, which could lead to a ban on a substance if there were found to be a potential risk to human health.

Nanomaterials present in cosmetics would also have to be listed on a product's packaging.
The regulation defines nanomaterials as “an insoluble or bioresistant and intentionally manufactured material with one or more external dimensions, or an internal structure, on the scale from 1 to 100 nm”.

Green MEPs Hiltrud Breyer and Margrete Auken welcomed the introduction of safety criteria for nanomaterials, but criticised the “narrow definition” of them.

They said the agreed definition “limits the scope of the new provisions to 'insoluble' or 'persistent' nanomaterials…[the] cosmetics legislation should have specific provisions for all nanomaterials”.

Breyer and Auken called on the Commission “to quickly revise the definition to bring it in line with international definitions”.

Tuesday’s vote also banned the use of substances which are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMR) in cosmetics apart from “in exceptional cases under strict conditions”.

It likewise removed various legal uncertainties and inconsistencies from the legislation by replacing the 27 sets of national legislation with a single regulation directly applicable in all EU member states. 

Bertil Heerink, director general of Colipa, the European cosmetics trade association, said: “The streamlining of this piece of legislation benefits industry and consumers and should reduce unnecessary red tape. It is fully in line with our industry’s continuous commitment to provide safe and innovative products and to ensure consumer confidence."

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By: Philippa Jones
+44 20 8652 3214

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