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EC Looks to Ban Three Fragrance Ingredients

It's part of the European governing body's crackdown on allergens.

PARIS — Fragrance formulation might become more complex very soon.

The European Commission (EC) said Thursday it intends to prohibit the use of three ingredients in cosmetics products it judges highly allergenic.

These include HICC, atranol and chloroatranol, which the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) deems unsafe.

And that’s not all.

“Twelve single chemicals and eight natural extracts were identified as substances of special concern, based on the number of persons with positive patch test results,” the EC stated. “It was suggested that the 12 chemicals, also when present in natural extracts, should be subject to concentration limits in the cosmetic product.”

The EC — which estimates between 1 percent and 3 percent of Europe’s population has a skin allergy to fragrance — is launching a public consultation as a next step to try and change the annexes to the existing cosmetics regulation. The last update on fragrance allergens took place in 2003.

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On top of looking to ban HICC, atranol and chloroatranol from fragrances, the EC also wants additional allergens to be individually labeled on the packaging of cosmetics products — alongside the words “perfume” or “aroma.”

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“Further scientific work is needed to define safe concentration limits of chemicals of special concern,” the commission said, adding its services are not proposing to ban any perfume. What we propose is that three strong fragrance allergens which were found unsafe should be banned. If they are in a perfume, this perfume should be reformulated so that the banned allergen is replaced with another substance.”

Once the consultations are taken into account, the proposed changes will be voted on by member states in the committee on cosmetics. If the measures are approved, the European Parliament and Council have three months to exercise their right of scrutiny. Barring opposition, the changes’ formal adoption is expected at the end of this year or the beginning of 2015.