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Issue 02, 2007 (01 February)

New Cosmetics Rule Bans 790 Substances

With a view to strengthening supervision and management of the cosmetics market and aligning with international standards, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has released the Hygiene Standard for Cosmetics (2007 Edition) to be effective from 1 July 2007.

The new rule contains a revised list of prohibited and restricted substances. First, an additional 790 substances have been included in the prohibited list based on the EU's Cosmetics Directive, bringing the total number of prohibited substances to 1,286. Second, the substances on the List of Hair Dye Agent Ingredients issued by MOH in 2005 have been added to the restricted list. Third, rules restricting the use of certain ingredients contained in preservatives, sun screen agent, colouring agent and hair dye agent have been removed, added or modified.

The latest revision has added several new testing methods for prohibited and restricted ingredients, such as certain antibiotics, and four anti-dandruff agents (namely salicylic acid, ketoconzole, climbazole and piroctone olamine). Two assessment methods for determining the efficacy of sun screen cosmetics have also been added: testing on the human body and in the lab. Also, the water-resistant feature of sun screen products will be subject to new testing and labelling requirements.

The Hygien Standard for Cosmetics (2002 Edition) issued and implemented by MOH in 2002 primarily contains a list of prohibited and restricted ingredients, toxicity assessment methods and micro physical/chemical analysis methods. As safety assessment methods and testing technologies for cosmetics have advanced steadily in recent years, the technical standards contained in the 2002 version can no longer meet the market supervision requirements of the EU and US.