WRITTEN QUESTION No. 3249/97 by Freddy BLAK to the Commission. Cosmetic products and the working environment
OJ C 174, 8.6.1998, p. 28 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)
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WRITTEN QUESTION E-3249/97 by Freddy Blak (PSE) to the Commission (20 October 1997)
Subject: Cosmetic products and the working environment
The hairdressing profession has pointed out that hairdressers' health is impaired because of the large amounts of cosmetic products they use.
Will the Commission state whether it has looked into this problem or intends to do so?
Does it consider the Council Directive on the approximation of Member States' laws relating to cosmetic products to be a satisfactory basis for providing adequate information to people working professionally with cosmetic products and protecting them against health problems?
Answer given by Mr Bangemann on behalf of the Commission (2 December 1997)
People working professionally with cosmetic products are covered by the measures provided by the Community legislation on health and safety at work, such as Council Directives 80/1107/EEC, 89/391/EEC and 90/394/EEC ((OJ L 327, 3.12.1980. OJ L 183, 29.6.1989. OJ L 196, 26.7.1990. )). These lay down minimum requirements which are to be applied in the workplace.
The safety of cosmetic products marketed in the Community is ensured by the provisions of Council Directive 76/768/EC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cosmetic products ((OJ L 262, 27. 9.1976. )), otherwise known as the cosmetics Directive. Article 2 of the cosmetics Directive requires that 'A cosmetic product put on the market within the Community must not cause harm to human health when applied under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use ...'. Therefore, if it is likely that the product will be used in a professional beautycare environment, the manufacturer or agent is legally required to ensure that the product is safe for such applications.
Products such as hair dyes are now assessed by the scientific committee on cosmetology, with respect to their safety. This group of experts, which advises the Commission on the safety of cosmetic products, considers all foreseeable uses of the products. Such considerations would include professional use, and may result in the use of specific warning labels bearing safety precautions or usage instructions.
Article 6, 1 (g) of the cosmetics Directive requires the labelling of all ingredients in a cosmetic. This allows consumers to check a product in order to ensure that it does not contain an ingredient to which they are allergic or particularly sensitive. In addition, Council Directive 93/35/EEC of 14 June 1993 amending for the sixth time Directive 76/768/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cosmetic products ((OJ L 151, 23. 6.1993. )) introduced the concept of product information files that must be held at the address specified on the label and packaging of the cosmetic product. Such information shall be readily accessible to the authorities of a Member State for inspection purposes. Article 7a, 1. (f) requires the manufacturer or importer of a cosmetic product to make accessible to the authorities 'existing data on undesirable effects on human health resulting from use of the cosmetic product'. This requirement allows for marketplace surveillance of adverse effects, thereby permitting continuous monitoring of product safety in the marketplace.
Therefore, the Commission considers that the safety of cosmetic products used in a professional environment has been addressed and that the requirements of the cosmetics Directive ensure sufficient information is available for the users of such cosmetics to protect them against health problems.