- Women who bought expensive anti-ageing creams could have
unwittingly exposed themselves to BSE, according to the official report
into the disease.
- The report by Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers stated
that there was a "potential pathway to infection" from the products
which, unbeknown to most consumers, might have included cattle brain and
placenta. The warning was contained in one of 16 volumes of the report,
which also criticised the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for failing
to act swiftly enough on the dangers posed by cosmetics using bovine material.
- Last night the DTI told The Telegraph that it would accept
the report's recommendation that it undertake an urgent review of its procedures.
The report highlights the fact that the regulation of the cosmetics industry
by the DTI was "less stringent" than those covering medicines
and vaccines - another possible source of infection - at the time that
concerns about BSE in cattle were first raised.
- It said that the category of products presenting the
highest risk compromised "exotica" or "premium products",
such as anti-ageing creams, which might contain lightly processed brain
extracts, placental material, spleen and thymus.
- The Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF)
and the Department of Health failed to alert the DTI to the risks when
they were first identified in 1989. Although guidance was provided to the
cosmetics industry in the following year, the report said "a muddled
situation developed about lead responsibility for action".
- In 1991, one veterinary expert said in private correspondence
that MAFF should find out from the cosmetics industry exactly what was
being used in products. Raymond Bradley, of the Central Veterinary Laboratory,
said: "I am not satisfied that the industry is in the clear and it
is us that may shoulder some blame if it is later found ladies are rubbing
cow brain or placenta on to their faces."
- The issue became embroiled in drawn-out negotiations
with the European Union and it was not until 1994 that updated guidance
to British manufacturers emerged. Use of potentially dangerous bovine material
was banned by the EU in 1997.
- The Phillips report concluded: "The hallmarks of
the handling of BSE in relation to cosmetics were [a] lack of leadership
and an absence of urgency. Manufacturers were left to use up stocks, and
checks were not made to ensure they reformulated their products."
- The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association told
the BSE inquiry that it was confident early on from consultation with members
that no products were using British material. -A spokesman for the Association
said yesterday: "In 1990, at the request of the DTI, the sourcing
of these ingredients was investigated and it was confirmed that they were
of non-UK bovine origin".
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