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Contact allergies caused by oxidative hair dye products is an important and increasing health problem for consumers and society, often causing acute and severe dermatitis on the face, scalp and neck.
In its Memorandum from March 2007 the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) drew the Commission's attention to the fact that many of the hair dye substances currently used in hair dye products have the potential to cause skin sensitisation. A person sensitised to a hair dye substance may eventually develop skin allergy to this substance.
Substances that possess skin sensitizing properties have proved to be necessary ingredients. Since the Cosmetics Directive, considering some are potential skin sensitizers, the warning "Can cause allergic reaction" has become obligatory the label.
In recognizing some of the safety concerns, the cosmetics industry has, over the years, gradually extended the warnings printed on hair dye products.
In practice, besides the labelling requirements set out by the Cosmetics Directive, labelling used today by some manufacturers often includes (besides the ingredient labelling) the following warnings:
a warning that hair colorants may cause reactions which may be severe;
a warning not to apply products in people who have already experienced some reactions;
a warning of increased allergy risk of black henna tattoos.
In order to better inform the consumer about the possible adverse effects and to lower the risk of sensitization to hair dye products, the Commission has envisaged a new enhanced use of warnings and labelling on oxidative hair dye products. These new labelling requirements will be added to the existing requirements for labelling of oxidative hair dye products already set out in the Cosmetics Directive.
The new wording should be clearer and more visible on product packages and containers. The main message for consumers should be to avoid hair colouring if they have ever experienced any kind of adverse reaction (such as itching or a rash) when dyeing their hair.
I. Proposal for warnings to be set out in the Cosmetics Directive
II. Proposal for safety instructions
There is also the introduction of safety instructions to be implemented by industry.
B. Recommended safety instructions to be implemented by industry
These safety instructions must appear on the packaging and the container. Where this is impossible for practical reasons, an enclosed leaflet, label, tape or card must contain that information to which the consumer is referred either by abbreviated information or the symbol given in Annex VIII to Cosmetics Directive, which must appear on the packaging and the container.
For the full text please contact Abigail Mamo @ GRTU. Any comments are welcome till the 26th September 2008.
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