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Endocrine disruptors

Endocrine disruptors

Endocrine disruptors are chemical substances that alter the functioning of the endocrine system and negatively affect the health of humans and animals. They may either be of synthetic or natural origin. Exposure to endocrine disruptors can occur from different sources, such as residues of pesticides or consumer products used or present in our daily life.

Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on cosmetic products (cosmetics regulation) provides a regulatory framework to protect human health.

To address potential health risks, the regulation includes a system of restrictions on and bans of certain substances in cosmetics. We base our restrictions on the scientific committee on consumer safety's (SCCS) risk assessments.

The SCCS' risk assessment addresses scientific concerns about the endocrine-disrupting properties of substances in cosmetics as well as other substances of concern. It judges whether endocrine/hormonal activities are linked to critical endpoints to assess the safety of these substances for consumers. When applicable, this includes vulnerable groups such as children. 

On 7 November 2018, the Commission adopted the review of Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on cosmetic products containing endocrine-disrupting substances. The report takes stock of how substances considered as potential endocrine disruptors were tackled under the cosmetics regulation. Also, specifically which ones were banned or restricted following their safety assessment. At this stage, the conclusion is that the cosmetics regulation provides adequate tools to regulate cosmetic substances that potentially risk human health.

In the report, the Commission committed to creating a priority list of potential endocrine disruptors that weren't covered by the regulation bans yet. After input from EU countries, industry, consumer organisations and the SCCS, the Commission consolidated a list of 28 substances. 

The Commission launched a first public call for data from 16 May -15 October on 14 substances that merit a higher priority for assessment. These substances include Benzophenone-3, kojic acid, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, propylparaben, triclosan, resorcinol, octocrylene, triclocarban, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), benzophenone, homosalate, benzyl salicylate, genistein and daidzein. 

The Commission analyses the received data, mandating the SCCS to evaluate these substances as soon as possible. Then, the Commission takes action to prohibit or restrict the use of these substances in cosmetics if needed.

A second call for data related to the remaining 14 substances could take place in the future, taking into consideration any relevant developments. These substances are Butylparaben, tert-butylhydroxyanisole/Butylated hydroxyanisole/BHA, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate(EHMC)/octylmethoxycinnamate (OMC)/octinoxate, benzophenone-1/BP-1, benzophenone-2/BP-2, benzophenone-4/BP-4, benzophenone-5/BP-5, methylparaben, cyclopentasiloxane/decamethylcyclopentasiloxane/D5, Cyclomethicone, salicylic acid, butylphenyl methyl propanol/BMHCA, triphenyl phosphate and deltamethrin.