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Parliamentary questions
16 November 2012
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE)

 Subject:  Maintaining a balance between the use of fragrances in the manufacture of cosmetics and consumer health

A recent study by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety recommended limiting the concentration of several substances, including citral, coumarin and eugenol, in the manufacture of cosmetics. According to the conclusions of the study, between 1 and 3% of the EU population could develop allergies to these substances. The Committee therefore recommended limiting the concentration of these ingredients to 0.01% of the finished product.

However, these ingredients are used in the composition of many cosmetics and several well-known perfumes, such as ‘Chanel No 5’ and ‘Miss Dior Chérie’, which are flagship products of the French, and hence European, perfume industry. Simply restricting these ingredients would alter the scent of the perfumes.

EU legislation today requires all cosmetic products sold in the EU to indicate precisely all the ingredients they contain so that people who are intolerant of those ingredients can choose other products instead.

It is essential to protect consumer health, and it is important that the risk of undesirable effects for allergy sufferers in everyday products or luxury items is indicated on the packaging and the bottles. But it is also necessary to find a balanced solution, so that the products we use every day as well as major European cosmetic brands can be preserved.

What is the Commission's position regarding the opinion issued by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety? How does it intend to achieve a balanced proposal?

Original language of question: FROJ C 330 E, 14/11/2013
Last updated: 4 January 2013Legal notice