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Thursday, December 29, 2011SCCS

Allergens in cosmetics: to a more stringent European regulation?

©Jovan Jaric-Thinkstock/L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques

In order to prevent and lower the allergies due to cosmetics, 26 substances, recorded as allergens shall be declared on the list of ingredients written on labels. This list may be soon modified, with additional restrictions for use to come. At least, this is a view promoted by the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS).

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It is a given, some ingredients used in perfumery may lead to contact allergies (dermatitis, eczema …). There are often due to cosmetics. These allergens, which induce a response of the immune system after every contact, can have a significant impact on quality of life, all the life long.

In order to ease the medical diagnostic when an allergy is suspected, and to help users to avoid the questionable substances, the European regulation, in 1999, has issued specific requirements for 26 of them.
No ban to use, but they shall be listed in the list of ingredients, when, until then, all the fragrance substances may be grouped under the generic word "Fragrance", with no more indication.

It is mandatory to list individually any of these 26 to-be-listed allergens, as soon as they are at more than 0.01% in rinse-off products, and at 0.001% in leave-on products.

More allergens, more restrictions

This list of 26 is currently under revision. In an opinion released in December , the SCCS reviews the information that has emerged since 1999. The conclusion: while the list is still relevant, the Committee experts think it is inadequate, and suggest improving it on several points:
• add further …

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