Flawless or Fallible? A Review of the Applicability of the European Union's Cosmetics Directive in Relation to Nano-Cosmetics

Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2008

Posted: 7 Jan 2009

See all articles by Diana Megan Bowman

Diana Megan Bowman

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Public Health

Geert van Calster

K.U. Leuven

Date Written: January 7, 2009

Abstract

Consumer demand for new products within the cosmetics and toiletries industry has encouraged the industry increasingly to incorporate and experiment with new products and processes, including nanotechnologies. A number of cosmetic products which claim to incorporate engineered nano-materials have already entered the market and include, for instance, anti-ageing creams, make up, hair care products, cleansers and moisturisers. While the use of engineered nano-materials within cosmetics offers a range of benefits, including increased transparency and solubility, there has been increasing debate over the potential risks associated with a number of the nano-materials already found in these products. While such concerns are not unique to the cosmetics sector, due to the direct application of these products onto the human skin, concern has been expressed over the potential health effects of nanotechnology-based cosmetics. This is despite the fact that cosmetic products are subject to regulatory controls within every jurisdiction in which they are sold. With debate over the safety of cosmetics containing nano-materials likely to escalate in line with the number of products entering the marketplace, this article examines the adequacy of the current regulatory framework for cosmetics containing nanoscale materials within one of the world's largest cosmetic's market, the European Union. Two case studies are presented, and the effectiveness of the Cosmetics Directive is examined by reference to these two products. By drawing on this analysis, the article articulates the strengths and weaknesses of the current regulatory regime, and discusses how these may be addressed under the proposed new regulatory framework.

Keywords: cosmetics, European Union, nanotechnologies, regulation, law

Suggested Citation

Bowman, Diana Megan and van Calster, Geert, Flawless or Fallible? A Review of the Applicability of the European Union's Cosmetics Directive in Relation to Nano-Cosmetics (January 7, 2009). Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1324110

Diana Megan Bowman

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Public Health ( email )

1415 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029
United States

Geert Van Calster (Contact Author)

K.U. Leuven ( email )

Tiensestraat 41
Bus 3424
B-3000 Leuven, 3000
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.gavc.be

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