Will the EU’s chemicals plan lead to harmless products being banned?

Cosmetics representatives fear the European Commissions’ Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability could hamper innovation, says Nicholas Wallace

Personal care product industry representatives have criticised European Commission plans to table new toxic chemicals regulations, which they warn could outlaw the use of some cosmetic ingredients even at safe levels.

The Commission’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS), published 14 October, said the European Union (EU) executive plans to eliminate from cosmetics and other products carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic (CMR) and endocrine-disrupting substances.

It also wants to ban chemicals that persist and accumulate in the environment or the body[1]. These actions would come via follow up regulatory proposals expected in 2021 and outlined in the CSS.

“What’s on the table is fairly radical,” says John Chave, Director-General of industry association Cosmetics Europe. He says that if the proposals make it into law, “there will be fewer ingredients to use and to provide innovative products” without “any net gain for consumer safety at all, because provided you carefully examined the exposure, then consumers were not put at any risk in the first place”.

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