It is important to understand the reasons behind this before we can explore how Europe manages cosmetic ingredients. The chemical ingredients in personal care products (also known as cosmetics or beauty products) are more than 10,500. Many of these ingredients can be toxic. Toxins can be poisonous and, if used for a long time, can cause severe health problems. On average, women use more than 5 pounds worth of creams and lotions each year. Because the skin is the largest organ in the body, it is also porous. This allows over 70% of creams and lotions to seep into the skin and our bloodstream. Clinical studies have shown that the same toxic chemicals found in mother’s blood can be found in the umbilical cord and fetus. Many of these poisonous (poison) ingredients can cause cancer and other health problems, such as birth defects, kidney disease, and respiratory problems in infants.
It is now clear why it is important to be aware of what goes into cosmetic product manufacturing around the globe and why it is important that consumers only use certified organic or natural beauty products.
Oceania, Asia, Europe and Europe have made significant progress in controlling ingredients in beauty products. This article will focus on Europe. Future articles will explore how other parts address the issue. One might wonder what the US is doing about this. Because the cosmetic industry is so large (50 Billion) and highly profitable, US cosmetic companies have Washington lobbyists to stop changes to the laws. The Cosmetic Industry is self-regulated, which may seem shocking. It decides what products it wants to sell without the need for any pre-testing from government agencies or private companies.
The European Union (EU) is the only European Government that currently controls beauty product ingredients. There are five private institutions that offer independent laboratory testing for the many European cosmetic companies. These independent organizations are authorized by the EU to manage the process. However, in some cases they go beyond what is required by EU regulations to qualify products as organic or natural beauty products. These are:
-BDIH operates out of Germany
-ECOCERT & COSMEBIO France
-SOIL ASSOCIATION, UK
The COSMOS-standard is also a combination of these six organizations. Although the COSMOS-standard is not yet legally recognized, we will explore it later in this article. Let’s now examine how the EU manages this.
What is the European Union? What are its goals and outcomes? What is its working principle? These are the main questions.
Economically and politically, 27 democratic countries are members of the EU;
These 27 countries have 498 million people who look to the EU for safe and consumable products, as well as beauty products.
It’s beauty results provide safer products and a cleaner environment.
It works because every country has its own bodies that adopt and manage EU legislation.
The European Cosmetic Organic Standards Working Group (COSMOS-standard) is responsible for the COSMOS standard. It is comprised of the organizations previously mentioned. It will be legally recognized by the Belgian Royal Decree in April 2010. These are excerpts from the COSMOS- Standards main objectives, taken directly form their January 2010 final document.
“Establishing sustainable development that reconciles economic progress and social progress”
Responsible cosmetics are a way to maintain the natural balance of our planet.
The sector is open to being fully involved… Organic and Natural Cosmetics clearly shows their ambition to set a new standard in organic and natural cosmetics.
Here is a summary of some simple rules that can be used to manage organic and natural beauty industries. Safety and prevention are the main goals of this guideline, which covers all aspects of manufacturing, including raw materials, final products, and those that reach market.
These rules will be focused on the health of people through:
-Organic agriculture, natural resources and respect for the environment
A manufacturing process that is both environmentally friendly and uses and expands a green philosophy. This will ultimately lead to a higher standard in organic and natural beauty products.
Each of the six COSMOS-standard organizations, namely BDIH (ECOCERT & COSMEBIO), SOIL ASSOCIATION and BIOFORUM have its own standards for certifying natural and organic beauty products. Each agency’s processes could be described in a book. It suffices to say that Europe, through the EU, has taken a leading position on the subject and continues to improve its status with the COSMOS standard. The EU has already banned more than 1100 chemicals used in the production of beauty products. The US has only banned 10.
With its lack of leadership in the industry, the US has made the consumer more vulnerable to poisons that we know can cause harm to pregnant women, babies, and the millions of people who have been using these toxic chemicals for decades. With many countries in the world joining forces to ban these toxic ingredients from beauty products, the US may change its current laws and require pre-testing before they are made available to the public. Moreover, the US may allow independent agencies to test products in order to make them certified organic or natural beauty products. Look out for logos from European companies when searching for certified products. You can be sure that you are using safe and non-toxic beauty products.