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Tensions Continue Mounting in France Over Cosmetics Ingredients

UFC-Que Choisir, a non-profit consumer organization, found that 185 cosmetics products contain “worrisome” substances.

PARIS — Tension keeps mounting here regarding cosmetics ingredients.

UFC-Que Choisir, the Western European non-profit consumer organization, on Monday published a study finding that 185 cosmetics products — including face creams, deodorant and hair care — contain “worrisome” substances and recommended consumers stop buying such items, notably the “most risky,” such as non-rinse cosmetics for babies and children.

“Despite the repeated alerts from toxicologists and dermatologists, the manufacturers still haven’t changed their practices,” stated UFC-Que Choisir.

In its report, the association found of the 62 products causing allergens, 55 contain methylisothiazolinone, or MIT, the preservative France’s Minister of the Environment, Ségolène Royal, asked the European Union last Thursday to ban from rinse-free cosmetics.

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Other findings included that at least 101 products contain endocrine disruptors, and of those, 44 have a UV filter that can disturb thyroid function and estrogen production, according to UFC-Que Choisir.

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It said 26 products contain long-chain parabens, which disrupt hormone functioning, and that three came from RoC, two from L’Oréal, two from Carrefour and two from Leclerc. Bébé Cadum, Mixa, Nivea and Pampers were cited as making some of the eight wipe products including phenoxyethanol, a preservative billed to be toxic for the liver and blood.

France’s Fédération des Entreprises de la Beauté later on Monday published a statement citing its director of scientific and regulatory affairs, Anne Dux, as saying: “The cosmetics companies in 2009 adopted ‘good practices for the development of toiletry products destined to infants under three years of age’ so that the specificities of babies’ skin is taken into account. They were also committed starting in 2013 to remove MIT from non-rinse products.

“There is no concern regarding the use of cosmetics products on the French market,” she continued.

The world’s largest beauty company also released a statement on Monday, which said: “L’Oréal is committed to the security of all its cosmetics products. Our system of evaluating safety is very robust, and all of our products and our ingredients have been rigorously evaluated before being put on to the market, always in full conformity with the applicable regulation.”

As reported, FEBEA on Friday backed Royal’s stance, and earlier last week the Women in Europe for a Common Future organization released a study surveying 341 baby cosmetics products sold in France after assessing their ingredients based on labels. The organization has requested that legislators ban three “high-risk” ingredients, including MIT, for children under three years of age, among other demands.

The process of forbidding MIT in cosmetics products is underway at the European Commission level and should be in effect by the end of September at the latest.