Europe Bans 22 Hair Dye Chemicals

BRUSSELS, Belgium, July 21, 2006 (ENS) - To ensure safety of hair dye products for consumers, the European Commission has banned 22 hair dye substances that could potentially cause bladder cancer if used for a long time. Adopted Thursday, the ban takes effect on December 1, 2006.

The EU's Scientific Committee on Consumer Products recommended the ban of these substances following the conclusions of a scientific study that the long term use of certain hair dyes bears a potential risk of bladder cancer.

European Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, who is responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said, "Substances for which there is no proof that they are safe will disappear from the market. Our high safety standards do not only protect EU consumers, they also give legal certainty to European cosmetics industry."

hair The hair dye market in the EU was worth €2.6 billion in 2004, accounting for about eight percent of the value of output of the cosmetics industry in Europe.

Permanent hair dyes account for 70 to 80 percent of the coloring product market in Europe. More than 60 percent of women color their hair, as do five to 10 percent of men, and the average frequency of use is six to eight times per year.

The ban is a first step in the Commission's overall strategy, agreed with EU member states and stakeholders in April 2003, to establish a positive list of hair dye substances which are considered safe for human health.

Under the strategy, the Commission will ban all permanent and non-permanent hair dyes for which industry has not submitted any safety files and those for which the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) has given a negative opinion.

In a public consultation, the Commission had asked cosmetics producers to provide safety files for their substances. These files, based on scientific expertise, have to prove that a substance does not pose a health risk for consumers.

In response, by the end of last year the cosmetics industry submitted 115 files on hair dye substances for evaluation by the scientific committee. The ban covers 22 hair dye substances for which industry has not submitted any safety files at all.

The safety of the 115 hair dye substances for which files were submitted now is being assessed by the committee, which will issue its next set of opinions in October.

hair Their opinions will serve the Commission as a basis to take further decisions on regulation of these dye substances.

In its opinion of June 2001 the SCCP concluded that the potential risks of the use of certain, permanent hair dyes are of concern.

In a second opinion of December 2002, the SCCP stated that there is epidemiological evidence to indicate that the regular and long term use of hair dyes by women may be associated with the development of bladder cancer.

The committee recommended an overall safety assessment strategy for hair dyes including the requirements for testing hair dye cosmetic ingredients for their potential genotoxicity or mutagenicity.

This ban on the 22 hair dye substances has been notified to the World Trade Organization under the Technical Barriers to Trade procedure. Since no comments were received following this notification, the Commission says it can be assumed that the ban will not significantly impact the competitiveness of the hair dye manufacturers.

The following substances will be banned: