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EC Cosmetics Regulation comes into force

Single piece of legislation will now control the European cosmetics industry

Posted on 18 July 2013

Consumer product safety lawyers at Leigh Day have welcomed the new EC Cosmetics Regulation which came into force on 11th July 2013. Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 replaces the Cosmetics Directive of 1976. An additional piece of European legislation, Commission Regulation (EU) No 655/2013 lays down common criteria for the justification of claims used in relation to cosmetic products, and also came into force on the same day.  There are no transition provisions and the Regulations come into force across Europe immediately.

The new regulations have been introduced with the aim of improving cosmetic product safety for consumers, until recently the cosmetic products sector had been lightly regulated compared to other industries such as food and drugs.

Main changes to cosmetic product regulation

  • Manufacturers will have to designate a responsible person for every cosmetic product. The responsible person will ensure that the product is compliant with EU law and will have to be able to identify which distributors were provided with the product for at least three years after supply. This person will also be responsible for the withdrawal and recall of products that pose a risk to human health, and will liaise with the UK’s health regulation authorities.
  • The responsible person will have to inform the UK’s health authorities if the product causes any serious undesirable effects and will have to supply details about the contents of any new cosmetic products being launched.
  • All records relating to cosmetic products will now be centralised and held electronically.  The EC has created a new online portal, the Cosmetic Products Notification Portal (CPNP), for the notification procedure.
  • Particular substances are listed in the annexes of the Regulation which are prohibited or restricted for use in cosmetic products. Certain colourants, preservatives and UV-filters are prohibited. Products containing other nanomaterials not otherwise restricted by the Cosmetics Regulation will be the object of a full safety assessment at the EU level, if the Commission has concerns.
  • The Regulation prohibits the performance of animal testing in the European Union for finished products, ingredients or combinations of ingredients.

Cosmetic product labelling

The Regulation relating to consumer information and advertising extends the duties of the manufacturer towards consumers on labelling. 

  • Manufacturers must now label nanomaterials.
  • Manufacturers advertising cosmetic products will have ensure that any advertising is legally compliant, truthful, provides evidential support, is honest, fair and provides informed-decision making.

Product liability lawyers Jill Paterson and Michelle Victor both welcome the new legislation as providing an important improvement in consumer safety.

Jill, who has represented clients who have been injured by cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, said:

“I am pleased that manufacturers of cosmetic products will now be regulated in a similar way to food and drink and pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributers.  The improvement in the transparency relating to supply chains and the providing of information to a central database should help consumers to find out quickly if any of the cosmetic products that they use have caused health problems to consumers in the UK, and to take the appropriate action.”

Michelle, who currently represents a number of clients who have suffered serious health problems after using home hair-dye kits, said:

“The change in labelling regulations will help consumers identify more easily the products which might cause them problems and I welcome the new legislation’s aim of improving consumer safety.”

If you would like to speak to one of our consumer products lawyer please contact Jill Paterson on 020 7650 1219 or Michelle Victor on 020 7650 1141.