Proposed changes to EU cosmetics legislation revealed

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Product safety, European union, Eu

Current EU cosmetics legislation will be amended forcing
manufacturers to tighten safety assessment procedures while
simplifying certain existing regulations.

With particular emphasis on requirements related to product safety, the latest proposals are an attempt to update and simplify the current EU regulatory system, which was originally laid down in 1976. The European Commission is expected to announce the proposed changes in February, when the political process will begin with the new rules likely to come into force in 2009. Sergi Corbalan, the director for legal and international affairs at the European trade association Colipa, spoke to and explained the key elements of the proposals. Product safety ​The minimum requirements for safety assessments carried out for cosmetics before they reach the market are set to become more precise and rigorous. "It will no longer be acceptable for a safety assessor to write a couple of lines on a piece of paper- a more thorough safety assessment will be necessary,"​ said Corbalan. The responsibility of manufacturers to ensure product safety will be reinforced under the proposals although firms will receive greater clarification and guidance on safety assessment in order to achieve this. Following the principal of manufacturer responsibility companies will be obliged to report to the national regulator any "serious adverse events" from the use of their products. In the event of "serious adverse events," which is an established definition commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry, companies will have to explain the actions they will take to tackle the problem.​ Still on the subject of product safety, the Commission may also be reflecting on whether to continue to ban some substances from cosmetics that are already used in food but are currently classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMR). Simplification ​ Another important proposal that will undoubtedly be welcomed by the industry relates to the notification of new products. Currently to launch a new cosmetic in different EU countries manufacturers have to notify the national authorities in each country where it will be sold. This represents a significant administrative burden - especially for small firms. Now the system is set to be overhauled and replaced by a single electronic EU notification system that means manufacturers only have to provide information once. Commenting on the proposed changes to EU cosmetics regulation, Corbalan said: "We hope the proposals will streamline the current system and make life easier for manufacturers - Colipa fully supports the move."​ The new cosmetics legislation will not affect the provisions related to animal testing or change the listing of restricted and permitted chemicals for use in cosmetics. The existing definition of a cosmetic will also remain unchanged.

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