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Parliamentary questions
31 May 2012
E-005498/2012
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Oreste Rossi (EFD)

 Subject: Cosmetic ingredients harmful to health
 Answer(s) 

All cosmetics in Europe carry a label indicating the ingredients in descending order of total quantity contained. The highest percentage ingredient is therefore listed first. The labels must always be read very carefully, since a product may contain substances which, despite minute quantities, can be harmful to health. There are some 20 ingredients that should be avoided because, even though they act on the skin’s surface, they can penetrate the skin more deeply. These are preservatives such as parabens and urea, foaming surfactants such as SLS and SLES, the emulsifiers DEA, MEA, PEG, etc., silicones, petroleum derivatives, alcohol and colourants. These substances may cause skin irritations, allergies, or even release formaldehyde or nitrosamine, known carcinogenics.

Furthermore, many cosmetics companies’ products acquire nickel traces during manufacture. Although factories are obliged to comply with good manufacturing practice to ensure minimum nickel levels, this toxic substance can still come into contact with products.

Since consumers do not always pay attention to cosmetic ingredients, and since manufacturers tend to use non-natural ingredients for economic and effect reasons, does the Commission intend to introduce new measures to raise consumers’ and companies’ awareness of natural products?

Original language of question: ITOJ C 256 E, 05/09/2013
Last updated: 19 June 2012Legal notice