15 June 2017

Nanomaterials in cosmetics published after three year delay

The European Commission today published the long-awaited catalogue of nanomaterials used in cosmetics, required in the Cosmetics Regulation. The catalogue provides brief information on 25 nanomaterials used as colorants or ultra-violet filters or other uses, as well as the exposure routes and whether the products are rinsed off after use or not.

Civil society organisations have been calling on the European Commission to publish the catalogue since the original date of 1st January 2014 mentioned in the Cosmetics Regulation. In an explanatory note complementing the catalogue, the Commission admits that the publication of the list was delayed many times as the information provided by companies was incoherent and imprecise. Most worryingly, some companies identified some ingredients as nanomaterials when they clearly were not (including water, according to comments made by a European Commission representative) or did not notify nanomaterials that should have been.

ECOS Senior Policy Officer Doreen Fedrigo-Fazio says:

“ECOS welcomes the publication of this long-awaited catalogue. Although the catalogue information is very limited, the preparation process has served as evidence of how weak the EUs legislative framework is in regulating nanomaterials. This data provision exercise has illustrated how difficult it is to ensure that companies provide the information legally required, even for a piece of legislation as clearly written as the Cosmetics Regulation.”

She adds:

The European Commission should use this as a learning experience as it continues to work on amendments to REACH to make nano information requirements more specific.”

REACH, the EU’s comprehensive chemicals legislation which requires anyone placing a substance on the market with a production volume of more than 1 tonne per year, theoretically addresses nanomaterials but does not yet set out nano-specific information required to allow a substance on the market.


ECOS is co-funded by the European Commission and EFTA

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