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Parliamentary questions
1 October 2012
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Mara Bizzotto (EFD)

 Subject: Heavy metals in EU cosmetics

A study carried out in Canada by the influential organisation Environmental Defence has revealed the presence of various toxic heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and cadmium in a range of widely used cosmetics. The study tested some of the leading cosmetics available on the market and found that nickel was present in all of the products, that 96 % contained lead, that 90 % contained beryllium and that 51 % contained cadmium. The study also highlighted that none of the metals mentioned above were listed on the label of the cosmetics tested. According to the manufacturers, these heavy metals should be regarded as ‘unintentional contaminants’ and it should therefore not be compulsory to indicate their presence on labels.

It should be noted that some heavy metals are involved in processes that are harmful to health such as bio-accumulation, namely their absorption into the human body, or bio-magnification, i.e. the increase in metallic substance levels in the body in the event of weight gain.

1. Is the Commission aware of this study?

2. Does it intend to carry out a study on cosmetics on sale in the EU in order to verify the results produced by the Canadian study, to ensure that EU citizens are fully aware of the facts and that there is transparency in the cosmetics market?

3. Does EU legislation classify heavy metals as ‘unintentional contaminants’?

4. Does the Commission believe that EU citizens should be informed about the presence of such metals in cosmetics that they use on a daily basis?

Original language of question: ITOJ C 287 E, 03/10/2013
Last updated: 19 October 2012Legal notice