Cosmetics Firms to Give Customers Info

New European Commission guidelines require manufacturers to disclose "dangerous" ingredients, plus any and all reports of side effects

Cosmetics producers selling their products in the EU have agreed to provide customers with on-request information about possible side effects and what exactly the product contains, the European Commission said on Monday (28 August).

Under the new Brussels guidelines, cosmetics firms will have to disclose any reports they might have received of a product - ranging from perfumes to lipsticks - causing allergic reactions or irritant effects.

The companies will also have to disclose quantities of substances used in the products that are classified as "dangerous" under EU rules, including substances that are easily flammable, corrosive, irritant or toxic.

Customers will have to email, call or write to the company making the product to receive the information.

"This guidance on information makes life easier for consumers and industry," EU industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen said. "Consumers can have access to full information on composition and on undesirable effects of cosmetics," he said in a statement.

The cosmetic industry agreed to the move as an alternative to printing costly leaflets like those included with medicinal products, Mr Verheugen's spokesman told journalists on Monday.

Also, in order not to compromise commercial secrecy or intellectual property rights, the value of substances can be rounded up or indicated as lying between certain amounts.

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