Careful and comprehensive scientific evaluation and risk assessment play a key role in the realm of consumer safety. In the European Union (EU), the advisory body responsible for evaluating the safety of several consumer products, including cosmetics, is the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS).
What is the SCCS?
The SCCS is a scientific committee administered by the European Commission that provides independent and authoritative scientific advice and opinions on consumer safety aspects of non-food consumer products (cosmetic products and their ingredients, toys, textiles, clothing, personal care, household products, etc.) and services (tattooing, artificial sun tanning, etc.).
The establishment of the SCCS traces back to the history of EU regulations and the need for scientific expertise in assessing consumer product safety. Prior to the SCCS, two predecessor committees existed: the Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products Intended for Consumers (SCCNFP) and the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP).
The SCCS works with 3 working groups, dealing with cosmetic ingredients, methodology and nanomaterials.
Role and functions of the SCCS
One of the main roles of the SCCS is to conduct safety assessments of cosmetic ingredients. It examines the available scientific data, performs risk assessments, and determines the safety profiles of these substances. The SCCS evaluates potential hazards, exposure levels, and any associated risks to consumer health, including allergenic, carcinogenic, and toxic effects.
Moreover, the SCCS closely monitors scientific advancements and emerging safety concerns in the field of consumer products.
Based on its assessments, the SCCS formulates scientific opinions on the safety of cosmetic ingredients and products. These opinions serve as valuable guidance for the European Commission, member states, and industry stakeholders in making informed decisions related to product safety and regulatory measures.
Impact on Regulatory Decision-Making
The scientific opinions issued by the SCCS carry significant weight and are instrumental in shaping regulations and standards in the cosmetics industry. These opinions help establish concentration limits for ingredients, define labelling requirements, and guide the classification of substances based on their safety profiles.
Additionally, the SCCS contributes to the harmonization of safety standards at the European level, promoting consistency and coherence in safety assessments across EU member states, and actively collaborates with other scientific bodies and regulatory authorities globally, fostering international cooperation and aligning safety standards on a broader scale.
By upholding the principles of scientific rigour, the SCCS continues to enhance the safety and trustworthiness of cosmetic products, contributing to the overall welfare of individuals.