The EU's cosmetic product regulation of 2013 -a pioneering piece of legislation

Key Takeaway:

The European Union updated regulations pertaining to cosmetic products in 2013. In regulating the safety, production and distribution of cosmetic products across the countries of the EU; this legislation is seen as path breaking.

Regulation relating to cosmetics is of utmost importance, considering the widespread use of these products and their composition. There have been important updates to regulations from time to time in the European Union, which has the world's largest number of personal care products consumers.

The Directive of 2013

The latest of these cosmetic product regulations happened in 2013. It was when the EU adapted the implementation of a regulation it had set in place in 2009, which in turn was the first major update to the EU Cosmetics Directive of 1976.

Called informally as the "Cosmetic Products Regulation", this regulation aims at harmonizing and simplifying the cosmetics regulations across the EU member states. Its core intention relates to:

  • Simplification of procedures
  • Streamlining of terminology
  • Reinforcement of the existing regulatory framework for cosmetics to bring about enhanced protection of human health.

EU regulatory authorities framed the cosmetic product regulation aimed at bringing regulations for the world's largest base of consumers of personal care products, estimated at a whopping half a billion. For the first time since the birth of the EU, all member-countries will be governed by a single, uniform piece of legislation.

The outstanding feature of the cosmetic product legislation is that it gives all the consumers of cosmetic products across this huge market an equal level of protection. The clarity and ease of doing business has been hailed as exemplary and unparalleled.

The most notable changes the new cosmetic product regulation, informally called the Cosmetics Regulation has introduced, may be summarized in these:

Fortified requirements for safety of products: Under the new legislation, preparing a product safety report under specific guidelines and requirements before bringing a product into the market is a must for cosmetics manufacturers.

Instituting the concept of "responsible person": The EU designates a natural or legal person as "responsible person" for cosmetic products. Only organizations that have such products can be introduced into the market. The new cosmetic product regulation suggests clear-cut ways of identifying such a person and states her roles and

Central notification: All cosmetic products that enter the EU market have to be centrally notified. This has to be done by manufacturers once through the EU Cosmetic Products Notification Portal (CPNP)

SUE reporting: Reporting of Serious Undesirable Effects (SUE) is compulsory. A person entrusted with this responsibility will be appointed, and her task will be to notify SUE to respective national authorities in individual member countries. The cosmetic product regulation authorizes the authorities to collect information regarding SUE from all possible sources. These sources are required to share this information with all EU countries.

Regulations relating to the use of nanomaterials: There are now new rules for how nanomaterials are to be used in cosmetic products. Manufacturers have to use only authorized nano materials. Also, cosmetic products that contain nanomaterials not otherwise restricted by the Cosmetics Regulation will have to pass a complete safety assessment at the pan-EU level, should there be any concerns from the Commission. The cosmetic product regulation also requires manufacturers to label nanomaterials among the list of ingredients with a mention of the word "nano" in brackets after the name of the substance.

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