Banned substances found in over 140 cosmetic products sold in France

Evie Burrows-Taylor
Evie Burrows-Taylor - [email protected]
Banned substances found in over 140 cosmetic products sold in France
Photo: AFP

French authorities have discovered over 140 cosmetic products containing banned substances after an inquiry was launched on the back of a blacklist containing 1,000 'worrying' items published by a leading consumer group.


The DGCCRF, which is in charge of clamping down on fraud in consumer products, launched the investigation in June following information from French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir. 
The Local has contacted the DGCCRF for a list of the more than 140 products. 
The DGCCRF have made moves to see them pulled from the shelves of stores in France.
"These products have been subject to an immediate withdrawal requirement," the DGCCRF said. 
The investigation was specifically targeting products containing traces of irritants like MIT and paraben isobutylparaben, two substances banned since February 2017 and July 2015 respectively because of "allergic reactions they may cause". 
The DGCCRF's investigation revealed that certain incriminated products no longer contained the banned substances but that, as the labeling had not been updated, they still appeared on them. 
As for the cosmetics actually containing the banned substances, the DGCCRF said some manufacturers were trying hard to shift their stocks.
Two manufacturers were accused of "continuing the use and marketing of these chemicals" after their ban and they will be referred to the justice system said the DGCCRF.
The original list from UFC-Que Choisir contained 23 cosmetic products said to contain banned substances on a list including a total of 1,017 cosmetic products containing "undesirable" substances.
The 23 most worrying products on the list included an eye treatment by L'Oréal Men, a sun cream for kids by Lovea and Vivelle hair gel, UFC-Que Choisir said should be pulled from the shelves immediately because they contain chemicals that are banned by law, including hormone-altering substances (known as endocrine disruptors).   
Photo: AFP
The price for breaking the laws around making and importing banned substances is high. Penalties include two years in prison and a fine of €30,000 that can be pushed up to €150,000 in some cases.
"We are very attentive to cosmetics every year," the DGCCRF's Loïc Tanguy told AFP in June. Just last year the DGCCRF carried out checks on 8,000 products. 
"In addition to our own checks, we will take into account the information from UFC-Que Choisir," he added. 
Other items on the original list from UFC-Que Choisir were by popular brands such as L'Oréal and Head&Shoulders and featured everything from perfumes, make-up products, shower gels, deodorants, toothpastes, creams and pretty much every product you could find in your bathroom. 
You can CLICK HERE for the full list from UFC-Que Choisir. 
The list of ingredients to watch out for also includes allergenics, and irritants like MIT, as well as antibacterial and antifungal agent Triclosan and colorless and odorless liquid, Cyclopentasiloxane. You can CLICK HERE for the full list of substances to avoid. 
UFC-Que Choisir recommended the public to not buy any of the 1,000 products on the list because of the "undesirable substances". The products should not be used at all on at-risk individuals, such as babies, they say.
The group highlights the fact that without strict regulations for cosmetics products, the guidance provided on cosmetics labels just isn't enough. 
UFC-Que Choisir has urged the European Commission to publish a "bold definition of hormone-changing substances" including those suspected of being so. 


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also