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European Group to Introduce New Seals

The European Cosmetics Standards Working Group will introduce common standards for natural and organic beauty products this spring.

LONDON — European label lovers can look forward to logos a go-go on beauty products in 2009.

This story first appeared in the December 12, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The European Cosmetics Standards Working Group, whose members include a plethora of marquee-name classification groups, will introduce common standards for natural and organic beauty products on March 30, for example.

COSMOS-Organic and COSMOS-Natural labels will begin appearing on cosmetics packaging, which satisfy criteria agreed to by the group, consisting of the U.K.’s Soil Association, France’s Cosmebio and Ecocert, Belgium’s Bioforum, Germany’s BDIH and Italy’s ICEA classification bodies. The founding members’ labels will also appear on the products.

The move could help bring some clarity to the growing “natural cosmetics” market, which has become somewhat of an umbrella term for products ranging from the stridently green to those with what some might call a very tenuous link to nature.

Meanwhile, France’s health minister Roselyne Bachelot is considering introducing a labeling system for cosmetics deemed dangerous for children and pregnant women. In November, she said the French Health Products Safety Agency (AFSSAPS) will be called upon to evaluate the toxicity of certain chemical substances and the potential risks they pose to reproduction.

“I would like to study, in partnership with industry [bodies], the possibility of putting a logo on products that are toxic to reproduction, indicating they are not recommended for pregnant women and for young children,” Bachelot said during a conference in November.

Controversial chemicals including parabens and phthalates have long been under the microscope because of links to reproductive problems.

Also in the chemicals field, a list of substances preregistered under the Registration, Evaluation and Authorization Chemicals regulations (REACH) will be published Jan. 1. Preregistered companies will then begin sharing data in Substance Information Exchange Forums. Companies, including beauty firms, that did not preregister chemicals by Dec. 1 as part of the European law cannot manufacture or import those substances until they submit a full registration dossier.