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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Press release25 November 2020Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

New technical guidance on cosmetic hand gels addresses antibacterial and antiviral claims

Enhanced personal hygiene is one of the key ways to prevent the spread of the COVID-19: leave–on hand gel can be effective in this sense, but they are also subject to different EU regulatory frameworks depending on their properties and purpose. This is one of the reasons why the Commission adopted the Coronavirus crisis guidance last March.

Several authorities signaled that there were leave-on hand gel cosmetic products on the EU market making ambiguous claims about their actual cosmetic or biocidal function. Those claims can confuse users on the real purpose of a hand gel (e.g. to simply clean or disinfect) and should therefore be banned.

The new list provides full clarity on the claims that must not be used on cosmetic leave-on hand gels. These include claims such as 'kills bacteria' or 'sanitizing', pictures or graphical elements related to coronavirus, and symbols of medical connotation such as a hospital red cross. EU economic operators and national competent authorities can now refer to this list and implement the applicable legal framework in a more harmonised and coherent way.

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