Health Canada has amended its cosmetics regulation, Cosmetics and Your Health, this month to ensure manufacturers state the full ingredient list on all products labels by 2007 - a move that brings Canada up to speed with the US cosmetics industry and gives the consumer a more informed choice.
A deadline of late 2007 has been put in place to allow the manufacturers that do not already adhere to the regulation to sell current stock that have labels that don't meet requirements. However, these manufacturers are obliged to divulge the ingredient content of the product during the grace period, if asked by a consumer.
The regulation states: 'The safety of the Canadian public will be enhanced by making this information available to consumers and medical professionals.'
Ingredient names are required to be in accordance with the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) labeling system, a system which the US and European cosmetics industry already adheres to.
This means that certain scientific names will now have to change to adhere to the system, making it easier for the consumer to identify an ingredient, as they will be named the same on all products.
Health Canada, the government agency that defines and communicates requirements concerning the manufacturing, labeling, distribution and sale of cosmetic products in Canada, state that the new labeling system will also aid medical professionals in incident reporting and treatment, as they will be able to refer to one name only.
With Canadians spending an estimated $5.3 billion on cosmetics a year, there was a strong call for the products to be correctly labeled in order to avoid any health scares caused by the consumer not being fully aware of the ingredients. The company stated that 'there are more than 50 reports a year about adverse reactions to cosmetic. Many more cases go unreported'.
Other guidelines by Health Canada ensure that all cosmetics state the identity of the product in both French and English using its common name, with directions and warnings in French or English where necessary for the 'safe use of the product'.