Regulatory and sustainability in cosmetics

On the second day of the HBA cosmetic show in New York City as I attended some presentations on their third annual regulatory summit, the buzzwords that frequently circulated throughout the program were green, California, bisphenol-A, phthalates, REACH, consumer advocacy groups, organic, certification, and of course regulation.

According to Rupert Day from Milbar Labs, each and every cosmetic and personal care manufacturers have to start thinking about sustainability and green chemistry in their formulation strategy if they want to achieve regulatory compliance in all countries worldwide.

“Start locally but think globally,” he said. “Use fully functional actives that are sustainable, next generation ingredients and for synthetics, they must be safe for the consumer and the environment.”

You’ve already read about Wylie Royce‘s comments on dyes, pigs and bioplastics on my previous post, but aside from that he also noted about the growing popularity of carbon labeling in packaging (especially in the UK); Wal-Mart’s initiative to be be green especially in their packaging; issues and growing bans on different types of plastics and additives (especially In California); and other waste packaging mandates throughout the US.

“One of the reasons plastic is under fire is because it is a victim of its success. If it wasn’t so good it wouldn’t be so prevalent,” said Royce.

Bruce Calder of Intertek tried to specify some of the major packaging regulations going on worldwide. In Europe, the EU Packaging Directive included materials restrictions such as heavy metals mercury, lead, chromium and cadmium (maximum concentration of 100 ppm by weight). The directive also have packaging restrictions such as minimum recyclable content; product safety and avoidance of excessive packaging.

Another big issue in European packaging – and for those who deal with the European market – is REACH’s declaration requirements. One of the proposed chemicals on REACH’s substances of very high concern (SVHC) list include phthalates that is widely under regulatory scrutiny right now.

Frances Wu from the Personal Care Products Council talked about tightening regulations [again especially on California] on VOCs (volatile organic compounds) coming from cosmetic and toiletry products such as hair sprays, antiperspirant/deodorants, perfumes/fragrances, etc.

Speaking [again] of California, Janet Blaschke made a comparison on how California and Europe seem to becoming best buddies throughout the years when it comes to regulating chemicals. Blaschke also noted that most of the well-known public advocates these days such as Friends of the Earth, World Wildlife Fund, Environmental Working Group, GreenPeace…originated from California.

Finally, Bill Schwemer of the EAS Consulting Group, touched briefly on the recent issue about pharmaceuticals and personal care products as pollutants especially in several major water bodies in the US. He noted that the Environmental Protection Agency is now looking at this problem to identify if any of the drugs and cosmetic chemicals are present in the environment and if they are causing any adverse effects.
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