Toxicol Lett 2004 42156;151 (1):7-17
Dermato-Cosmetology and Pharmacognosy, Department of Toxicology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 103, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium. [email protected]
Safety evaluation of cosmetics in the EU. Reality and challenges for the toxicologist
Council Directive 76/768/EEC, its seven amendments and 30 adaptations to technical progress form the basis of the cosmetic EU legislation today. There are actually four key principles for safety in the cosmetic legislation. (i) The full responsibility for the safety of cosmetics for human health is placed on the manufacturer, first importer in the EU or marketer. (ii) The safety evaluation of finished products is based on safety of individual ingredients, more specifically on their chemical structure, toxicological profile and their level of exposure. (iii) A compilation of information on each cosmetic product (dossier) must be kept readily available for inspection by the competent Authorities of the Member State concerned. This information source, usually called a technical information file (TIF) or product information file/requirements (PIF(R)), contains, as the most important part, the safety assessment of the product undersigned by a competent safety assessor. (iv) The use of validated replacement alternative methods instead of animal testing forms the 4th key principle for safety of cosmetic products on the EU market. The 7th amendment imposes strict deadlines for the abolition of animal in vivo studies on cosmetic ingredients. These legal requirements induce a number of important challenges for the cosmetic industry and more specifically for the toxicologist involved as safety assessor.