There can be relaxation of stringent laws which prohibit the use of dangerous ingredients in imported cosmetics if there is a trade deal between the United Kingdom and the United States, campaigners in the UK have warned.
There have already been concerns in the UK about the food products that would be imported under a UK-US trade agreement – particularly chicken that is washed with chlorine. But products in other industries have been given little attention under similar concerns.
The UK markets could soon be stocked with US cosmetics products that make use of chemicals that are currently under a banned list of the European Union, warned the trade campaign group Global Justice Now.
Currently in the UK, there is a ban on the use of over 1,300 toxic ingredients with respect ot their use in cosmetic products while restrictions have been imposed on another 500 ingredients. But according to the group, in the US, only 11 ingredients are banned form use in cosmetics. Moreover, testing of cosmetics on animals is allowed in the US while it is banned in the UK, the group had further said.
“Chemical regulation in the US is like the wild west – it’s what happens when you allow big business to dictate the rules, rather than thinking about consumer protection or the need to protect the environment,” said the group’s director Nick Dearden.
“And with Trump in charge, it’s getting worse by the week. Our big worry here is that, under a trade deal with the US, parts of this system will be imported into Britain, and that the concerns people have rightly voiced about chlorine chicken will be expanded to all manner of products that people use on their body.”
As is the case with food products, in the US, it is the responsibility of the regulator to prove that something is not safe for use and not the prerogative of the businesses to prove that they are safe for usage. This approach is to be blamed for a number of safety lapses in a number of high profile products, the campaigners have said.
The Food and Drug Administration of the US had acknowledge in 2019 that companies making cosmetics had used asbestos in a number of them including some cosmetic products that were marketed for children.
Some of the other ingredients that are allowed to be used on cosmetics in the US but are illegal in the UK include:
- formaldehyde, a carcinogen often used as an ingredient in hair-straightening treatments, nail polish and eyelash glue
- parabens is an ingredient used in skin and hair cosmetics and they have a tendency to mimic oestrogen in the body which results in disruption of the hormonal system
- p-Phenylenediamine which is an organic compound obtained from coal tar and is extensively used as an ingredient in hair dyes that can result in severe allergic reactions
- triclosan which an antibacterial agent used as ingredients in soaps and toothpastes and one that is believed to cause antibiotic resistance and
- phthalates which are found in perfumes and shampoo and can lower semen quality.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)