Allergenic fragrance is banned, but allowed to stay on the market for years

11. okt 2017

The fragrance HICC has been banned by the EU Commission because it is the main cause of new contact allergies. However, the phase out-period is 4 years, which means that you risk buying products with the substance until August 2021.

Fragrance is banned due to allergy risk

The EU Commission has decided to ban the tongue twister fragrance hydroisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyd (HICC) in personal care products.

The Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety (SCCS) has named HICC one of the substances which most frequently cause new contact allergies, and therefore the EU Commission has decided to ban the substance.

Read about all tests of chemicals in consumer products from the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals

Ban will be implemented in 4 years

Even though the opinion of the SCCS states that the substance is a frequent cause of allergy and the fact that the Commission has decided to ban the substance, you will still risk being exposed to HICC in cosmetics and personal care products for many years to come.

The Commission has decided that there will be a phase out-period of 4 years before the substance is no longer allowed to be in products on the market.

The manufacturers will have a 2 year phase out period and then the retailers will have 2 additional years to sell out the products on the shelves. Not until 23. August 2021 will the substance no longer be allowed on the market.

The allergenic fragrance is found in hundreds of products

The fragrance is found in many products on the Danish market.

In the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals’ app for personal care products (Kemiluppen) there are almost 500 products which contain the fragrance. This is out of roughly 10.000 products in the database.

The products that contain HICC are deodorants, shower gels, after suns and many other products.

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals: 4 years is too long

“Consumer protection is not being taken seriously when the EU gives manufacturers and retailers 4 years to phase out the fragrance. This means that in the next 4 years the consumers will still risk being exposed to a substance which the EU Commission today assesses to be a potential health risk. If the Commission concludes, based on an opinion of the SCCS, that the fragrance is problematic, let’s have an immediate ban.”

Claus Jørgensen, head of project, The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

The business organization VKH: Our members will phase out the fragrance as quickly as possible

“VKH supports the ban of HICC in cosmetics and personal care products. Members of VKH have decided to phase out the substance as soon as possible. The phasing out in production will happen during the next 6 to 12 months. For Danish consumers it is already quite simple to avoid HICC in personal care, cleaning products and textile washing products by looking for allergy brands such as The Blue Label and Allergy Certified. These labels do not allow the use of HICC”.

Henrik Krarup Jørgensen, chairman VKH (Second largest business association of manufacturers of cosmetics and toiletries).

The business organization SPT: A fair phasing out period is necessary

“We support the ban of HICC. We fully acknowledge the need to revisit and possibly revise the legislation from time to time and have an on-going assessment of the safety of cosmetic ingredients and possibly introduce new limits (…) A fair phasing out-period is simply a necessity to make it possible for companies to adapt to new legislation. This way they can continue to provide the consumers with safe and good products. In the case of HICC the 2 years serve as a transitional period which gives the manufacturers sufficient time to implement the conversion.”

Helle Fabiansen, CEO in SPT (Largest business association of manufacturers of cosmetics and toiletries)

For further questions contact Claus Jørgensen, head of project in The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals, on