BEUC alerts Ombudsman about EU Commission dragging its feet on endocrine disruptors in cosmetics

BEUC NEWS – 30.11.2017

Shampoos, face creams, nail polishes or mascaras are products where consumers are exposed to potential endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), as BEUC members’ research has shown.[1] The average adult uses nine personal care products each day, while one in four women uses at least 15 products.[2] Scientists link EDCs to a range of severe diseases and disorders, including infertility and cancer.

Sadly, the European Commission has been sitting on an update of the rules meant to protect consumers against endocrine disruptors in cosmetics. This may create unnecessary health risks for millions of consumers across the EU, including for vulnerable groups, such as pregnant and breast-feeding women, and children.

As a result, BEUC has today called on the EU Ombudsman to investigate the European Commission’s unlawful delay. The Commission had an obligation to review the Cosmetics Regulation with regard to EDCs no later than January 2015. Almost three years on, this has not happened despite several reminders from BEUC and the Commission’s promise that they would finalise the EDC review by end of 2016.

According to the Commission, the reason behind the delay is the ongoing discussion over a definition of EDCs in the context of the pesticides and biocides regulations. The delay in agreeing on the EDC definition for pesticides however does not justify the failure to review the Cosmetics Regulation, because they are two different pieces of legislation.

BEUC still encourages the Commission to urgently update the Cosmetics Regulation and provide consumers with a strong safety net against endocrine-disrupting chemicals.


BEUC’s complaint to EU Ombudsman, November 2017.

What does the European Ombudsman do?

The Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration in EU institutions, bodies, offices, and agencies. The Ombudsman may find maladministration if an institution fails to respect fundamental rights, legal rules or principles, or the principles of good administration. Any citizen or resident of the EU, or business, association, or other body with a registered office in the EU, can lodge a complaint.

[1] BEUC & ICRT, Endocrine disrupting chemicals – analysis of 66 everyday cosmetic and personal care products / Lip balms test by Forbrukerrådet, Norway / Mascaras test by Forbrugerrådet Taenk, Denmark / Substances préoccupantes dans 185 produits cosmétiques, UFC-Que Choisir, France / Beauty balms test (pg. 22), Altroconsumo, Italy / BB creams test, Test-Achats/Test Aankoop, Belgium.