Unlike the continuous adjustment of the European Union cosmetics legislation (the previous Directive 76/768/EEC was regularly amended, and the same is expected for the new Cosmetics Regulation), the Regulations Concerning the Hygiene Supervision over Cosmetics (1990), published by China's Ministry of Health, have never been amended.
It has now been announced that the Regulations are being amended, and the process is expected to take 2 or 3 years before the release of the final updated cosmetic regulations.
Acceptance of non-animal test methods in the cosmetic industry
The 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake Phototoxicity Assay, used to determine the potential toxicity of chemicals when they come into contact with sunlight, is already in wide use in the US and the EU. China is now poised to accept the method as replacement for its equivalent animal testing study - this will be the country’s first in vitro alternative test in the field of cosmetics.
China has planned to look at other non-animal, alternative tests, in the next five years.
Change of classification of cosmetic products
In China, cosmetics are regulated by the sFDA (State Food and Drug Administration). In February 2012, sFDA has issued a draft notice No. 57-2012 proposing to change the categorisation of cosmetics in China, and suggesting moving some of the non-special use cosmetics under the current law to Type II special use cosmetics, consequently subjecting them to stricter requirements.