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Laws and regulations

Parabens: EU cosmetics rules to be amended

The European Union is about to amend its regulations concerning the use of parabens in cosmetic products. The initial draft should be amended to reflect the opinion recently issued by the SCCS on cosmetics intended for children under three years of age.

The strengthening of restrictions on the use of parabens had already been announced by the European Commission to take into account the opinion of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) recommending limiting the use of butylparaben and propylparaben at a maximum concentration of 0.19%. The SCCS had also confirmed the safety of methyl paraben and ethyl paraben at current maximum allowable concentrations (0.4%). [1]

The draft, however, should be partially revised to incorporate recent information provided by the SCCS about the safety of parabens in cosmetic products intended for children under three years of age. [2]

According to information collected by Premium Beauty News, the Commission should propose to Member States representatives:

  • To prohibit the isopropyl, isobutyl, pentyl, phenyl and benzyl parabens and their salts in all cosmetic products. These substances, are considered as having only very little commercial interest, and the industry had given up supporting them.
  • To maintain the maximum allowable concentration of methyl and ethyl parabens and their salts at 0.4% (acid) for an ester, in all cosmetic products.
  • To lower the concentration of use of propyl and butyl parabens and salts to 0.19% (ester) alone or together, and to prohibit their use in leave-on cosmetic products intended to be applied the nappy area of children under six months.
  • To maintain at 0.8% (acid) the maximum allowable concentration of use in all cosmetic products for mixtures of authorised esters (methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl).

The Commission therefore intends to strictly follow the recommendations of scientists and opts for the utmost care regarding leave-on cosmetics applied the nappy area of children under six months, the only case for which the SCCS had indicated that risk could not be excluded totally.

The draft should be discussed on the 8th and 9th of November 2011. Taking into account the time required for consultation, the final version should be adopted and published in the Official Journal of the European Union during the first quarter of 2012.

Once the new rules published, manufacturers will have to put their products in compliance within 6 to 12 months.

Vincent Gallon


[1] SCCS/1348/10 Opinion of March 22, 2011

[2] SCCS/1446/11 Opinion of October 10, 2011

© 2011 - Premium Beauty News -
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