Although the use of EDCs in cosmetics like parabens, ethyl methoxycinnamate and benzophenon are currently not illegal, and the EU’s policy is to allow only those ingredients that have been proven safe, the DCC has been asking cosmetic companies to wipe out the use of these chemicals in products since the launch of its campaign back in 2009.
"From a precautionary principle perspective, we should forbid these substances in cosmetics and then it must be up to manufacturers to prove that their use of the substances is not dangerous,” says Claus Jørgensen, senior environmental officer at the DCC.
EDCs are generally referred to as synthetic substances that have hormonal activities and therefore might interfere with either the production or the activity of hormones within the endocrine system, leading to adverse effects. Among substances suspected to be EDCs are bisphenol A, phthalates, parabens, several synthetic UV-filters, and pesticides.
DCC: making a list, checking it twice…
Amongst the report, the council has outlined two clear lists, one containing brands that no longer include parabens or any other suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals in its products like Sanex, Dr. Hauschka and 56 others, whilst the second features brands yet to commit like The Body Shop, L’Oreal and 28 others.
“It is encouraging that [some] companies have shown caution, despite the fact that there is no ban on these substances,”says director of the consumer council, Rasmus Kjeldahl.
“It shows that it is possible to make cosmetics and personal care products without these substances. There are alternatives, which renders the use of the EDCs completely unnecessary,” he adds.
The Danish council has already exported its campaign to Poland, Switzerland and most recently Norway and are hoping it can use the achievements of these countries to convince other consumer organizations in other countries to make similar campaigns.
Good for the goose, good for the gander?
In the past Denmark has been known to influence substance regulations on an international level, in 2010 it was the first country in Europe to ban bisphenol A, an EDC used in baby bottles, while later in 2011, the two parabens, propylparaben and butylparaben, were banned in products for young children under the age of three.
Since then, the EU has followed the Danish example and banned bisphenol A in baby bottles. A ban on the two parabens is currently being discussed in the EU.