The Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Amendment (Cosmetics) Bill 2007 was introduced into the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Australia in June 2007 as a non-controversial bill. The bill provides for the Minister to make standards, including standards for cosmetic products imported into or manufactured in Australia, and proposes introduction of cosmetics that do not meet the standard as a criminal offence. The bill also makes a number of general amendments to improve clarity, increase consistency and address minor technical anomalies or unintended effects of the Act.


The bill provides the legislative underpinning for recent reforms to the regulation of cosmetics in Australia, which currently only exist on a limited, interim and administrative basis. The reforms resulted from the Australian Government’s broader initiatives to reduce regulation under the LRCC Taskforce. Following an extensive review of the cosmetic-therapeutic interface by NICNAS in partnership with the TGA, and in consultation with a Cosmetic Reform Implementation Working Group (IWG) comprising representatives from industry, government and the community, draft NICNAS Cosmetic Guidelines were developed.


The guidelines provide for the improved regulation at the interface of a number of product types including antiperspirants, antidandruff products, primary sunscreens with SPF less than 4, moisturisers with secondary sunscreens (SPF >4 to <15), anti-acne skin cleansers and antibacterial skin products. The guidelines include the definition of a cosmetic, tables of product categories – including mandated conditions to ensure compliance with the new cosmetics standard – and list chemicals prohibited or restricted for use in cosmetics in Australia. 


Benefits to the community from the bill are that full ingredient disclosure will be required for a greater range of personal care products and that new ingredients in these products will additionally be subject to worker and environmental risk assessments, in addition to the public health assessment previously undertaken.