New cosmetic certification standard created by Green Seal

By Pooja Kondhia

- Last updated on GMT

Non-profit organisation Green Seal has apparently created the first certification standard for cosmetic and personal care products covering the whole life cycle of the product.

A standard for leave-on products which are produced to enhance the appearance and feel of skin and hair as well as to provide other personal care and hygiene functions, Green Seal states it to be the first to address health, environmental and labeling issues.

Furthermore, the standard will provide definitions to common claims such as bio-based, organic and natural. Once standards are met, manufacturers can feature the Green Seal label.

Green Seal claims the standard will provide consumers with a way of knowing that their personal care products do not contain harmful ingredients and that claims about these products have been validated.

Requirements

Green Seal’s standard requires manufacturers to comply with quality assurance and control practices and procedures are required for the building and facility; equipment; personnel; raw materials; production; laboratory; labeling; records; and complaints.

Additionally, the amount of energy and water used must be reported, along with waste and emissions.

The manufacturer also has to submit documentation showing that production was socially responsible – in terms of freedom of association and collective bargaining; labor; discrimination; occupational health and safety, and conditions of employment.

There are also packaging requirements, according to which, the primary and secondary packaging must reduce the use of new material by either being source reduced or recyclable.

Also, the material must consist of 25 or 50 percent post-consumer content or be accepted through a take-back program. Moreover, the use of heavy metals, phthalates, bisphenol A and chlorinated packaging and applicators is prohibited.

Labeling and safety

Labeling requirements consists of a long list, a few of which are obvious such as the product packaging listing product ingredients as well as other requirements such as the general term fragrance being allowed to be used for fragrance components collectively, however, a list of those components must be easily accessible to users i.e. through a company website.

Others include, natural and bio-based claims, which must be supported with documentation for verification and meet Green Seal’s specific definition; as well as products containing ingredients known to cause skin sensitivity to UV rays, must include a statement about an increased risk of sun exposure.

In terms of safety, the Green Seal standard has a concise list:

  • All product components, including the components that make up fragrances, are reviewed against the criteria in the standard.
  • The standard prohibits components that are carcinogens, reproductive toxins, mutagens and neurotoxins/systemic toxins, endocrine disruptors and asthmagens as well as a host of other chemicals of concern.
  • Products must not be acutely toxic, cause skin or eye corrosion or irritation, or cause skin sensitization.
  • Animal testing of the product or its components in order to meet the provisions in the standard is prohibited.
  • Limits are applied to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), aquatic toxicity and biodegradability, bioaccumulation, eutrophication, and lead contamination.
  • There are additional considerations to further protect human health and the environment such as allergen labeling, limits on nano-scale components and labeling requirements, and formulation limits for colors and photo sensitizers.

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