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New Zealand: EPA Enforces Ban PFAS Usage in Cosmetic Products (31 December 2026) & Amendments to Cosmetic Products Group Standard (25 January 2024)

Updated: Apr 16

On the 30th January 2024, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) decided to eliminate Per/Poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in cosmetic products, as part of a precautionary approach to any potential risks that could be emitted from the chemicals.

PFAS also dubbed as ‘forever chemicals’ consists of a group of thousands of synthetic chemicals, characterized by multiple carbon-fluorine bonds. PFAS can be found in cosmetic products such as nail polish, foundation, lipstick, and mascara. The ingredients are designed to smoothen the skin and maintain the product’s durability and water-resistance characteristics.

However, the chemicals may contain toxins at high levels and do not easily break down in the human body, which is also suggested by international research for PFAS to only be found in a small number of products. On January 2023, The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published a proposal on the PFAS restriction in various products including cosmetics aiming to reduce toxic emissions and provide safer life quality for the community.

Hence, the EPA decided to list PFAS under prohibited substances in Schedule 4 with a transitional period up to 31 December 2026. Manufacturers, distributors, or responsible persons may continue to import or manufacture cosmetic products with PFAS as ingredients until 31 December 2026 and to supply the cosmetic products with PFAS ingredients until 31 December 2027.

Amendments to Cosmetic Products Group Standard

In 2023, The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) made 26 proposals to amend and update the Group Standard including:

  • Rules alignment for ingredients with the European Union requirements which can be found in Schedules 4 to 8 of the group standard (banned, restricted, subjected to other rules)

  • The ban on PFAS ingredients

  • Consolidating Schedules 4 to 8 under one document

  • Updating the requirements of fragrances

  • Widening the scope to include non-hazardous products

  • Implement 24-hour emergency contact label exemption

Hence, on the 25th of January 2024, the EPA released the decision on the approved amendments/updates that have been finalized by the Committee after considering the comments from the participants and the Ministry of Health.

  • Approval of the banning of PFAS ingredients in cosmetic products

  • Approval to increase the scope of the Group Standard to include the non-hazardous cosmetic products that contain hazardous substances

  • Approval to amend the label exemptions (24-hour emergency contact) and adding the United Kingdom to the Alternative International Regulators List

  • Updated the record-keeping requirements for nanomaterials

  • Updated Schedules 4 to 8 of the Group Standard to include substances listed in European Union Cosmetic Regulation (EC 1223/2009) except for ingredient Zinc Pyrithione


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