Polemics that sparkled during the Autumn 2008 in France aboutthe safety of baby care cosmetic products, led the Agency to tighten its controls on products intended for children of less than 3 years old.

Product analyses

A first set of eighteen inspections was subsequently performed on a panel of forty products (wet wipes, foaming gels…), with the aim “to take stock of the data available and the work already conducted by manufacturers,” but also “to verify that firms do comply with their obligations”.

Inspections did not reveal major discrepancies with regard to ingredients in the products, microbial quality or labelling. As far as these areas are concerned, controlled products duly complied with applicable regulations.

Incomplete safety assessments

However, the AFSSAPS pointed out safety assessment loopholes. Inspections revealed that companies would partly fail to comply with the specific assessment requirements applicable to products for children less than 3 years old. This additional assessment has been required since November 2004. The Agency said that requests for additional information were sent to several manufacturers who presented “incomplete” data. Furthermore, the Agency suspended the manufacture and sale of a product for which this specific assessment was missing.

According to the AFSSAPS, methods used by cosmetics makers for assessing the safety of products for young children do not give satisfaction. A dedicated working group was created within the Agency, with the aim to identify what are the key issues for this specific assessment and in order to issue official recommendations. A first meeting was held on October 2008 and concerned companies were consulted.