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Just How Safe Are Those Cosmetics Anyway?

Billions of dollars are spent annually on cosmetics worldwide, and the safety of those products is on the minds of not only those who use the cosmetics, but the manufacturers, regulators and suppliers alike. Because of past instances of adverse physical reaction and in rare cases even death, creating regulations and good practices that ensure cosmetic manufactures are adhering to safe manufacturing practices became paramount.

So how safe are all those cosmetic products and how are they regulated today?

Consumers over the years have become more concerned about just how safe their cosmetic products really are. Fear of allergic reactions, dermatitis or other adverse reactions caused by contaminated or polluted cosmetics have over the years, been a cause of concern for consumers of cosmetic products. Historically, over exposure to preservatives have led to adverse and even dangerous physical reactions.

Mercury for years been used as a preservative in cosmetics because it kills bacteria. Unfortunately, however, research showed those who had used beauty creams or other cosmetics that contained high amounts of mercury ended up being poisoned. Mercury poisoning led to suffering from serious adverse neurological reactions.

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Preservatives, raw materials and other chemical substances used to create fragrances, can often trigger allergic reactions, the unfortunate aspect is most of these ingredients play an essential role in the manufacture of cosmetic products. Subsequently these types of materials/ingredients are essential, so regulations that will ensure the safest amount of those substances are used to avoid adverse reactions of the utmost importance.

All cosmetic companies desiring to sell their products in the European Union must produce their products according to the Good Manufacturing Practices standards. International and regional standards have been created for the purpose of enhancing the safety and quality of all cosmetic products, those standards specifically address the requirements for manufacturers, wholesalers, suppliers and retailers.

The International Standardization Organization, or the ISO, released 22716 which is the guide on the safe manufacturing of all cosmetic products under the GMP cosmetics Europe regulation/guidelines. This regulation is also directly linked to the vast number of other cosmetic regulatory restriction that are already in place around the globe. Regulators in multiple countries and regions also have adopted ISO 27716 because it give an all-inclusive approach to quality management systems for cosmetic manufactures.

The guidelines cover not only how products are manufactured, but also how they are packaged, tested, stored and ultimately how the finished product is transported.

As a direct result of the introduction of ISO 27716, the EU community has a harmonized regulatory framework. The laws of each of the respective countries have to be in accordance with the regulations as well as with other relevant guidance or standards that affect the cosmetic industry. These are also required of all cosmetic manufacturers outside of the EU desiring to import cosmetic products into the countries in the region.

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