Friday, May 30, 2008

Beauty News: EC Launches an On-Line Database of Cosmetic Ingredients

European Commission has recently launched an online database of cosmetic ingredients called CosIng (Cos(metic)Ing(redients)). It is based on several EC directives and includes information starting from as early as 1976.

The present day consumer does care about the ingredients list and the safety of those chemicals we apply on the skin. That is why, I believe, there is a need for an easy to use and understand, clear, informative and reliable search engine for cosmetic ingredients.

I checked out the new EC search trying to understand how convenient and informative it is for me as a usual consumer.

You can search by the name of the ingredient or by its official number. The search result provides a lot of reference numbers like CAS #, EINECS/ELINCS # which do not tell me anything. In addition, it explains functions of the ingredient which IS useful. You also get information about chemical composition of the ingredient you entered.
However, it does not give a clear assessment of the ingredient's safety. If the ingredient was mentioned in one of the EC directives, it will give a reference code(“Restriction/Annex-Part-Ref #”). So you have to open the PDF file of the directive and search for this information. Hmm… Yes, it is complicated and time consuming but, on the other hand, you do know that this information is for sure reliable…

I compared CosIng it to some other databases available online which are really few! – provides a hazard score of a particular ingredient, information about any safety concern, usage. According to, their database is based on “50 databases and sources from government agencies, industry panels, academic institutions, or other credible bodies”. They also provide detailed explanation on how they make their evaluations. - FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) does not have a search engine for ingredients but provides some general guidelines. You can read several articles on which ingredients are prohibited or are controversial.

Here are a couple other databases I came across - Scorecard provides information about toxic chemicals. This site has a more general search engine - not specifically about cosmetics ingredients. – Site by The US Personal Care Products Council that also has a search engine for cosmetics ingredients but registration is required to use it.

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