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Will cosmetics manufacturers soon have to list 87 fragrances on their packaging?

by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)

Natural cosmetics shelf
In future, space on cosmetics packaging could become tight if up to 87 allergenic fragrances have to be listed on the packaging. © Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock

Some fragrances can sensitise people and trigger an allergy on subsequent contact. According to allergologists, this is true regardless of whether the fragrances occur as isolated individual substances or in a combination of essential oils.

Since 1 July 2004, 26 allergenic fragrances must be declared on the packaging of cosmetics throughout the EU if their concentration in washable products exceeds 0.01 percent. For products that remain on the skin, the limit is 0.001 percent. In 2012, the experts of the EU authority EFSA had already named a further 61 potentially allergenic fragrances and demanded their declaration.

Where to put the allergen list?

The stalling resistance of cosmetics and fragrance manufacturers was able to slow down the already slowly grinding mills of EU legislation, but could not stop it. At the end of 2018, the Commission presented a first impact assessment for a tightened regulation and put it up for public debate a year later. In December 2020, the final impact assessment was finally published.

This recommends that the Commission extend the declaration and find a solution that allows both a listing on the packaging and digital solutions. In many cases, the list of ingredients on smaller packaging would be tiny and thus hardly legible.

In the meantime, Commission officials are in the process of drafting a proposal for a regulation. The consultancy Exponent reported that the proposal provides for a transition period of three years. Industry associations would also continue to try to convince the Commission of a digital solution. Exponent expects their proposal towards the end of the year, so that the regulation could be discussed and adopted in 2022.

Warning against natural oils

The list of 87 allergens is unchanged from the 2012 list and also includes 28 natural oils and extracts. Allergists consider eight of these to be particularly problematic: Sandalwood, Peru Balsam, Jasmine, Oak/Tree Moss, Clove, Ylang-Ylang, Turpentine and Verbena. The list also includes peppermint, eucalyptus, Atlas cedar, bergamot, lemon and orange, lemongrass, cinnamon bark, juniper, laurel or lavender.


Related links:

Designation of 67 additional allergenic fragrances by EFSA

Impact assessment study on the labelling of fragrances on cosmetic products (Dec 2020)

Report "Additional Fragrance Allergen Labelling for European Cosmetics" on


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