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Cosmetic products regulations updated

29 June 2012

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved amendments to the Cosmetic Products Group Standard. Group standards are approvals for a group of hazardous substances of a similar nature, type or use and this group standard is closely based on European Union (EU) legislation.

In New Zealand, the EPA regulates ingredients found in cosmetics that may be hazardous. Cosmetics include toiletries, sunscreens, oral hygiene and other personal care products.

The amendments include aligning the definitions of some cosmetic products with EU legislation and requiring manufacturers to provide batch and source code information on cosmetic labels, helpful for identifying products subject to a recall.

In addition, the substance o-aminophenol has been prohibited in hair dyes, based on a lack of information available to determine how safe it is. A 12-month implementation period will ensure phase out of the product. 

Another amendment means from 1 July 2015, the presence of nanomaterials in cosmetic products available in New Zealand must be identified on labelling. Nanomaterials can occur naturally or be deliberately engineered and are insoluble or biopersistent particles that occur on the scale from 1 to 100 nanometres (one nanometre is equal to one billionth of a metre). The adverse effects of such small materials are uncertain.

Read the decision and other supporting information at the link to the right.

Notes:

The Cosmetic Products Group Standard is closely based on the European Union Cosmetics Directive and the Cosmetic Products Regulation (which will replace the Directive from 2013).

The European Commission has proposed that the regulations relating to nanomaterials in cosmetics should be regularly reviewed, and that a catalogue of nanomaterials will be publicly available from January 2014. The decision to implement this requirement is consistent with the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act, which states the need for caution in managing adverse effects where there is scientific and technical uncertainty about those effects. The EU Cosmetic Regulation identifies that there is insufficient information available on the risks associated with nanomaterials.

The Authority also adopted an amendment following discrepancies in the terminology used in the group standard that was noted by submitters. Therefore the term ‘nanoparticle’ is replaced by the term ‘nanomaterial’ in the group standard, to align with EU regulation.