WRITTEN QUESTION E-2291/00 by Glenys Kinnock (PSE) to the Commission. European production of mercury soap.
OJ C 81E , 13.3.2001, p. 186–186 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)
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WRITTEN QUESTION E-2291/00
by Glenys Kinnock (PSE) to the Commission
(11 July 2000)
Subject: European production of mercury soap
Is the Commission aware that soap containing high levels of mercury is being produced in Europe, and is being smuggled to African countries where it is being used to bleach hair and skin? The soap is linked to serious medical disorders as well as environmental pollution.
Would the Commission support the introduction of a Europe-wide ban on the production of mercury soap?
Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission
(19 September 2000)
Council Directive 76/768/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cosmetic products(1), annex II no. 221 b., states, as a general principle, that any cosmetic product sold on the European market may not contain mercury. In spite of this prohibition, recent inspections in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway have found soaps containing mercury on their home market. These soaps were surprisingly produced in either Spain or the United Kingdom. The existence of these products has been notified to all Member States.
In addition, the Commission has asked both Spain and the United Kingdom to take action against the production of these soaps in their Member States. This will prevent any export of mercury soap from Europe into Africa. Colipa, the association for cosmetic producers, has also been asked to take action and to inform its members about the findings.
The Commission is monitoring closely the implementation of the ban on the production of these soaps.
(1) OJ L 269, 27.9.1976.