The nation is studying whether to follow the EU’s footsteps in banning estrogen in cosmetics, as it may cause endocrine disorders or cancer and pollute the environment, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official said.
Chu Yu-ju (朱玉如), a section chief with the FDA in charge of medical equipment and cosmetics, said a ban on the use of three types of estrogen — estradiol, estrone and ethinyl estradiol — in cosmetics could go into force next year at the earliest to improve consumer safety and protect the environment.
FDA data show that the EU, Canada and ASEAN member countries have prohibited the use of these ingredients in cosmetics.
Conversely, Taiwan and Japan have placed such cosmetics on a control list, making their manufacture or import illegal without a permit.
Estrogen has been linked to ovarian and endometrial cancers, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), a toxicologist at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Linkou (林口) Branch.
While the risk of developing cancer from exposure to cosmetics is not high, long-term exposure to the beauty products does raise the risk of feminization for boys and early puberty for girls, said Chiu Pin-chi (邱品齊), a medical cosmetics expert at China Medical University in Taichung.
Health authorities have issued 241 permits for estrogen use in cosmetic products, but set a limit of 200 international units (IU) on products for use on the head and 500IU on products for other parts of the body.
A fine of up to NT$100,000 can be imposed on products found to have exceeded official limits and the products will be confiscated and destroyed, officials said.
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