Assessing Cosmetic Ingredients - A Proposal for Adaptions to a Future Demand

Cosmetic ingredients are used in different types of products, for instance in chemicals, cleaning products or pharmaceuticals. These product types are subject to different regulations and testing requirements. The goal of this project was to examine the European Cosmetic Regulation in the context of a comprehensive risk management.


Federal Ministry of Social Security and Generation and Consumer Protection



The study was triggered by the REACH initiative for reform of the EU chemical regulations. Under the REACH initiative, the Commission intends to stress the precautionary, polluter and substitution principles, and to contribute to a new perspective about the risks arising from the handling of chemicals. Since a significant number of cosmetic ingredients are subject to chemical regulations, as long as they are not used in cosmetics, both regulations are closely linked to each other. The question therefore arises as to whether a revision of chemical legislation has implications for cosmetic legislation, or – beyond that – whether it should have such implications.

In the first stage, a survey of cosmetics experts was undertaken to find out what importance they attach to the monitoring of products, product information, and the assessment of health and environmental properties of cosmetic ingredients. In the second stage, the study demonstrated, by means of case studies, what differences exist in the risk management and risk information between cosmetics and chemicals and what consequences arise from these differences.

To discuss the results a dialogue among stakeholders was arranged in January 2001 on behalf of the Ministry of Social Security, Generations and Consumer Protection. From this dialogue it was ascertained that there are deficits in risk communication and the product monitoring of cosmetics. To develop measures for improving the current situation it is intended to continue the dialogue with the different stakeholders.

Research Topic