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Parliamentary questions
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20 November 2020
Answer given by Mr Breton
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: P-005170/2020

The two decisions of the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) Board of Appeal (BoA), based on the REACH(1) and the Cosmetics Regulations, are fully in line with the Commission Communication of March 2013(2) and the ECHA and Commission joint statement of October 2014.

The main objective of the Cosmetics Regulation is to ensure the safe use of cosmetic products by the end users (e.g. consumers). Article 18(1) prohibits the placing on the market of cosmetic products where the final formulation, in order to meet the requirements of this regulation, has been subject to animal testing.

Those requirements refer to the health of the end users. However, the risks arising from other sources of exposure than the end use of cosmetic products are not assessed under the Cosmetics Regulation, as this regulation does not address the risks to workers exposed to chemicals used as ingredients in cosmetics, nor emissions of such substances into the environment.

The risks to workers are addressed under the EU occupational safety and health Directives, complemented by REACH. The way end-users are exposed to ingredients of cosmetics is different from workers’ exposure to those substances during production.

Out of 23 000 substances registered under REACH, around 150 are exclusively used in cosmetics. The cases addressed in the ECHA BoA decisions are the first two cases after the 2013 cosmetic animal testing ban, for which the need for a test on vertebrate animals has been confirmed for substances exclusively used in cosmetic products.

The promotion of alternative methods to animal testing is one of the objectives of REACH and the test on vertebrates is only acceptable as a last resort. The Commission shares the conviction that animal testing should be phased out in the EU and continues to work towards this goal.

(1)Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals
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