A federal audit says Health Canada doesn’t regularly test cosmetics for harmful or prohibited substances. It also found there is no legal requirement to report adverse health and safety incidents.
The report from Julie Gelfand, the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, finds that millions of consumers lack the information to make informed choices about the makeup, creams and other beauty products they use.
The audit notes that Health Canada has no powers under the Food and Drug Act to order the recall of cosmetic products.
Gelfand recommends that the government find a way to encourage manufacturers to provide a complete, confidential list of the secret ingredients in their fragrances, flavours and aromas in order to check them against known safety concerns. And she says consumers need to be informed that marketing terms such as hypoallergenic, preservative-free, fragrance-free or unscented have no validity in terms of health and safety.