Canada's Cosmetic Safety Gaps


The Canadian Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has issued recommendations to Health Canada about the risks of hazardous chemicals found in cosmetic and consumer products.


According to the audit Health Canada agrees with the recommendations that have been issued by the OAG, and have made progress in improving their oversight approach. However, there still are a number of gaps that can limit the Consumer Product Safety Program’s ability detect the risks posed by potentially harmful chemicals.


Primary Concerns:


Cosmetic Ingredient Disclosure:


In the audit there were red flags found regarding the standards associated with marketing terms like, “hypoallergenic”.  There were also problems with the fact that cosmetic regulation does not require disclosure of chemical components of ingredients such as, ‘parfum’.


Therefore, the OAG recommends that:



    • Health Canada should conduct more testing to determine the extent which cosmetics include prohibited substances.


    • Inform the consumers that the marketing terms used on the packaging of the cosmetic should not be confused with the safety and health claims.


    • Encourage the manufacturers of the cosmetic products to disclose a complete list of the substances used.



Cosmetic oversite and Product testing



    • OAG recommends that Health Canada show make it clear to the consumers that some of the cosmetics they are using are not tested for prohibited or restricted substances, nor for heavy metal contamination, prior to sale on the market.



E-Commerce and Counterfeit Products:


The audit indicated that Canada has only a few controls to address the risks that are associated with e-commerce products that are shipped directly to the consumer from abroad.



    • Health Canada has stated that it will continue to participate in international collaborations to review and assess e-commerce market risks.



For more information, please visit Chemical Watch. Please contact Nexreg for more information about Cosmetic Labelling.