Y natural calls on Australian government to follow French on cosmetics safety

Australian organic skincare company, Y natural, has applauded the decision of French Minister for Health, Madame Roselyne Bachelot, to put the dangers of common cosmetics ingredients on the political agenda, and has called on Australian health authorities to follow suit.

At a symposium held late last year, Madame Bachelot particularly questioned the safety of cosmetics for pregnant women and children, drawing attention to flaws in France’s cosmetics laws that allow ongoing use of toxic chemicals in a wide range of products, from shampoo to lipstick.

Y natural director, Barbara Gare, said that the decision would have a far-reaching impact on the entire beauty industry. "This decision to challenge the status quo shows extraordinary courage and gives France the opportunity to lead with regards to safe use of cosmetics,” she said. “In Australia, because we have the strictest rules in the world on certified organics, we believe we are clean and green, but the vast majority of beauty products sold here contain ingredients that Madame Bachelot is now saying pose a health risk to pregnant women.”

Madame Bachelot has called for France’s agency for the safety of health products (AFSSAPS) to research the risk of cosmetics used during pregnancy, and by young children – particularly those products distributed in maternity wards. She targeted specific chemicals in the paraben and phthalates families due to their possible link to deformities in unborn babies, as well as cancers.

The Federation des Enterprises de la Beaute, a French cosmetics trade association, was quick to respond to Madame Bachelot’s arguments, stating that some of her information about the ingredients was incorrect. However, the association did say it is willing to work with health authorities on the matter.

Madame Bachelot has suggested using a logo for cosmetic products that are not recommended for use by pregnant women and young children.

"Y natural would like to see the Australian Government adopt the same approach to challenging the current labelling standards," Ms Gare said.

The proposed French labelling legislation recognises that although individual products may contain ingredients at "safe" levels, their inclusion in so many different products may result in unacceptable exposure overall.

"By acting quickly on this matter, Australia could exceed these standards and become the world leaders in the safe use of cosmetics." Ms Gare said.

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