What is the right level of cosmetic regulation?

I saw this article about REACH which suggests that the EU regulation is costing industry between 1.5 and 2 billion Euro annually. It makes me wonder, who is this helping?

In case you don’t know REACH is a regulatory framework that requires raw material suppliers to register their products with the EU in order to allow them to be used in cosmetic products. Ostensibly, this will make cosmetic products safer. But is it?

I don’t think so. Cosmetic products have an excellent track record of safety (especially ones produced in the more developed countries of the world). Why do we need to spend billions of dollars or Euros on more regulation?

The result of this regulation is a stifling of cosmetic product innovation. Raw material companies can no longer create innovative new ingredients because if they do, it costs too much money to register. And animal testing is banned so there is no good way test the new raw materials for safety. The result is chemists have to create formulas with existing raw materials.

The cosmetic chemist loses as do the consumers looking for products that really work better.

Of course, stories like the recent one about the FDA warning consumers against using certain skin lightening because they contain mercury, it is clear that some regulation is needed.

I don’t know what the right level regulation is but it doesn’t seem to me that REACH or the ones kicking around the US right now are the right ones.

What do you think about the level of cosmetic regulation?

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