Naticide_ A response from Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) in the UK

I wrote to the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) when a client wanted to use Naticide in a product I was writing a CPSR for. Due to the lack of information available, I advised my client to use a more established preservative. Because I felt we might see Naticide again, so I contacted CTPA. Below is the response. 


"Thank you for taking the time to contact CTPA regarding this product. 

 

As you may already know, the CTPA is the trade association for the UK cosmetic, toiletry and perfumery industry.  The Association’s role is to advise our members about the strict legal framework for cosmetics, to represent industry views to UK Government, external stakeholders and help promote information to the media on issues relating to the safety of cosmetic products.

 

The company which sells the product in question is not a member of CTPA, and unfortunately we are unable to help with questions on individual products.  However, thank you for bringing this matter to our attention and we will investigate it further.  We are though happy to provide information on the strict legal requirements that cover cosmetic products and their ingredients.

 

As you may be aware, cosmetic products in the UK are regulated under the EU Cosmetic Products Regulation 1223/2009.  Only cosmetic preservatives from a positive list (Annex V) may be used in cosmetic products, and preservatives are defined in the Regulation as “substances which are exclusively or mainly intended to inhibit the development of micro-organisms in the cosmetic product.”  This confirms that a substance which is added to a cosmetic product and whose main or only function is to inhibit microbial growth must be listed on Annex V. 

 

Preservatives are important ingredients that help keep the product, and so the user, safe throughout its intended use.  All ingredients used in cosmetic products, including preservatives, must be safe to use.  If an ingredient is not safe as used in cosmetic products it would be banned.

 

Of course, there are ingredients that can contribute to the preservative system of a product, even though they are not included for this purpose.  We always give alcohol as the best example, and so it might be that products with a high alcohol content, in this example, do not require further preservation.  This could be the case for a number of ingredients.  However it is also the case that in the legally required Product Information File (PIF), as part of the Cosmetic Product Safety Report, the intended function of each ingredient must be listed.  Therefore the primary function will be clear.  Therefore if a ‘multifunctional’ ingredient is being used, i.e. a substance not on Annex V, then its primary function cannot be as a preservative.  It must also be present in the formulation at a level to achieve its primary function as listed in the PIF.

 

CTPA also considers that intentionally adding a substance to a cosmetic product for its preservative properties, but is not listed on Annex V, in order to claim ‘preservative free’ is misleading to the consumer and perpetuates the myth that preservatives are somehow bad ingredients, which is not the case.

 

‘Free from’ claims are covered by the Common Criteria on Cosmetic Claims, which is part of the EU Cosmetic Products Regulation.  The EU Commission has expressed concern about the use of ‘free from’ claims where the claim is considered to be denigrating authorised and scientifically proven safe ingredients, such as preservatives.  Consequently the Commission updated its guidance and published its Technical Document on Cosmetic Claims in July 2017 to include Annexes which address claims of the ‘free from’ nature (Annex III)."

Comments

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Interesting.  Thanks for sharing.
  • You're welcome.🐝
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Also a 'Thank you for sharing' from me.
  • You are very welcome!
  • @Dr_Sara

    Interesting they mentioned the Technical Document on Cosmetic Claims - I have been advising our clients to avoid "free-from" claims on the basis of this document, but it's extremely difficult when massive corporations (mentioning no names!) are slinging sulphate-free and paraben-free claims around. Spoke to Trading Standards and they said that:

    "Stating that a product is ‘free from’ is not in itself a false claim, nor a denigrating one, and aids consumer choice, provided that it is true. Whilst the Technical Document on Cosmetics Claims sets out best practice, the views expressed in it are not legally binding and it is not a Commission document."
  • @LincsChemist,
    It is incredibly frustrating. Why should the small producer follow the rules when the big boys are not?  

    Things that really make me cringe are when people claim cosmetics are "free-from" things that would never be found in the product under normal circumstances. For example, soap that is "paraben-free"! Soap does not require a preservative and so it is very misleading and totally a marketing ploy to say soap is "paraben-free".

    This deceptive marketing is not limited to the cosmetic industry. If you want, you can buy "gluten-free" bicarbonate of soda. Maybe I am confused, but I cannot see how baking soda could ever contain gluten.

    I really think there are two categories of companies that make "free-from"
    claims. The first, the manufacturers who deliberately perpetuate misleading
    information, and the second those who do not know the claims they are making are against the rules.

    Many in the second category are small producers who struggle with keeping up with legislation. However, if these small businesses are made aware, they usually take measures to comply. 

    Sadly, there are small producers who know they are making illegal claims and do not care. I actually had one tell us that until they are "caught" they will continue to perpetuate misleading information. 
  • @Dr_Sara I totally agree - you see it all the time! SLES-free moisturisers always make me chuckle.

    I believe it's actually common practice amongst major brands (some of them, at least) to make totally unsubstantiated claims that they know are illegal. One of their competitors will challenge it after so long and they'll say "Oh, very sorry, we'll amend that as soon as possible but it'll take at least a year to arrange new packaging" and just repeat the cycle. 

    Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any appetite amongst regulatory bodies to actually tackle these issues.
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