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Other Issues (20-12-2010)

Public consultation: Opinion on Potential Health Risks of Chemical Consumer Products Resembling Food and/or Having Child-appealing Properties

Today, the European Commission and the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) launch a consultation on a scientific opinion on the potential health risks posed by chemical consumer products resembling food and/or having child-appealing properties. The consultation will run until 11 February 2011.

Food-resembling and child-appealing chemical consumer products such as shower gels, shampoos, body lotions, and soaps are common on the European market. These products resemble items of food and/or appeal to children because of their colour, appearance, smell or other characteristics. Such products may lead to consumers, especially vulnerable groups such as young children or the elderly, putting them in their mouths and/or swallowing them.

The 2 main reasons for asking the SCCS to assess the risk from accidental ingestion of food-resembling and child-appealing chemical consumer products are:

1) The difficulty in determining their potential health risks due to the large number of elements to be taken into account. For example, the toxic properties of the ingredients, the probability of the product being confused with food and the amount ingested, to name a few.

2) There is a need for a common approach in the EU to the safety assessment of such products.

The draft Opinion concludes that there is some risk of poisoning, in particular from household products. However the lack of specific data on both the frequency and effects of accidentally ingesting consumer products resembling food and/or having child-appealing properties means that it is not possible to determine the risk level with certainty.

Stakeholders are invited to comment through an online consultation. Gathering feedback on the scientific evidence and conclusions drawn by the SCCS is a key part of the committee's risk assessment procedure.

For more information on the SCCS Opinion and the online consultation, please visit:
http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/consultations/public_consultations/sccs_cons_02_en.htm