Health Canada has confirmed that the labelling of all ingredients on cosmetics products will become compulsory in the course of the next two years, bringing the country in line with the United States and Europe. Simon Pitman reports.
Canadian health minister Ujjal Dosanjh said that amendments to the Cosmetic Regulations will require all cosmetic products sold in Canada to clearly list ingredients on the label. The government body has allowed a two-year implementation period for industry to comply with the new requirements, as published in the Canada Gazette , Part II, 1 December 2004, and all cosmetic companies must fully comply by 16 November 2006.
"Mandatory labelling of cosmetic ingredients will increase consumer safety by allowing the public to make more informed choices when selecting cosmetic products," said minister Dosanjh. "This will enable medical professionals to refer to a common chemical name for the purpose of treatment and incidence reporting, and will also enable the public to easily identify ingredients to which they may have sensitivities. This initiative will also harmonise our cosmetic labelling with many of our trading partners."
The Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CCTFA) said that it supported the move, citing the use of the INCI (International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients) nomenclature system as the right direction for the country's C$5.3 billion (€3.29bn) cosmetics industry.
"In an effort to meet the growing demand for ingredient information from both consumers and health care professionals, many companies have voluntarily implemented ingredient labelling using the INCI nomenclature system," the CCTFA said in a statement. "Now that the 24 month compliance period has commenced, all companies will be implementing the new ingredient labelling information in a clear and consistent format as soon as possible."
Health Canada defines 'cosmetics' as "any substance or mixture of substances manufactured, sold or represented for use in cleansing, improving or altering the complexion, skin, hair or teeth and includes deodorants and perfumes." These products include beauty preparations such as make-up and skin cream as well as grooming aids such as shampoo and deodorant. However, it does not include personal care products that are regulated as drug or natural health care products.
Under the proposed amendments, ingredients must be disclosed on the cosmetic labels using recognised names from the INCI system, which is already widely used in the United States, the European Union, Japan, and a number of other countries.
Health Canada said it had consulted a broad spectrum of Canadians over the years in an effort to implement the regulations with the backing of thorough market research. It consulted medical professionals such as dermatologists, as well as consumers in an effort to assess the full impact of cosmetic ingredients labelling on individuals' health. Further more, the regulations bring Canada in line with many of the more developed markets for cosmetics.