CEPA Cosmetic Consultant

 In Cosmetics


Pollution prevention, climate change mitigation and the pursuit of sustainable development have become important goals around the globe. In Canada, we have the Canadian Environmental Protection Act – or CEPA – whose main goal is to safeguard the environment and protect public health.

In this blog, we delve into CEPA, exploring its purpose, key provisions, and the impact on Canada’s environment, public health and cosmetic industry. If you’re manufacturing, importing, distributing or selling cosmetics in Canada, you need to understand your responsibilities under CEPA – and Dell Tech is here to help.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act: What is it?

CEPA, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, is a comprehensive federal law in Canada aimed at preventing pollution, and protecting the environment and human health. It is a key piece of legislation that governs various aspects of environmental protection and regulation in the country. CEPA provides a framework for the assessment and management of substances that may have an adverse impact on the environment or human health.

History of CEPA

The history of CEPA reflects the government’s commitment to improving environmental protection and adapting to changing circumstances.

1988: CEPA was first introduced. It aimed to protect the health of the environment and human population by regulating and managing various substances and activities that could have adverse effects on the environment.

1999: CEPA was amended to strengthen its provisions related to toxic substances. These amendments included the establishment of the Domestic Substances List, which classified substances as either existing or new, and requires the assessment of new substances for their potential environmental and health impacts before they can be used or imported.

2006: Further amendments to CEPA were made, known as the Chemicals Management Plan. These amendments aim to enhance the government’s ability to assess and manage chemical substances, especially those that posed risks to the health of humans or the environment.

Ongoing Updates: CEPA continues to be updated and revised as new scientific data and environmental challenges emerge. On 9 February 2022, the Government of Canada announced that the Senate of Canada introduced Bill S-5, the Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act. The bill received Royal Assent on 13 June 2023, giving the Canadian government 2 years to implement all of amendments in the new CEPA. Therefore, the Canadian government regularly reviews and assesses its environmental regulations to ensure they remain effective and relevant in addressing contemporary climate change concerns.

cepa cosmetic consultant

Cosmetics, CEPA and Health Canada

CEPA is primarily focused on the regulation of chemicals and substances that may pose a risk to the environment and human health in Canada. While CEPA does not specifically regulate cosmetics, it does have provisions that can indirectly affect cosmetics as well as other personal care products such as natural health products and their ingredients.

CEPA provides a regulatory framework for the assessment and management of chemicals and substances, which impacts the cosmetics industry, particularly concerning the safety and use of cosmetic ingredients. Companies involved in the importation or manufacturing of cosmetics in Canada should be aware of how CEPA may intersect with their products and ensure compliance with relevant regulations. It’s also important to note that cosmetic regulation in Canada is primarily the responsibility of Health Canada, which has its own specific cosmetic regulations and guidelines for cosmetics under the Food and Drugs Act and Cosmetic Regulations.

CEPA Schedule 1, also known as the “List of Toxic Substances,” is a key component of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. This schedule is a comprehensive list of substances that are considered toxic, and serves as the foundation for the management of substances that pose a risk to the environment or human health in Canada.

Substances are added to Schedule 1 based on scientific evaluations conducted by Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada. These assessments consider factors such as toxicity, persistence, bioaccumulation, and the potential for long-term harm. Once a substance is found to meet the criteria for toxicity, it is added to Schedule 1.

Under CEPA, there are several mechanisms that can impact cosmetics:

New Substances Notification Regulations (NSNR): Cosmetics manufacturers may need to comply with the NSNR if they are using a new chemical substance in their products. NSNR requires a company to notify the Canadian government and provide safety information for a new substance.

Ingredient Assessment: Health Canada, which is responsible for regulating cosmetic products in Canada, by assessing the ingredients DSL/NDSL/New status. DSL stands for Domestic Substance List, which includes substances that are manufactured or imported in Canada and deemed not harmful to human health or the environment. Cosmetic ingredients found on the DSL are considered low-risk. NDSL means Non-Domestic Substance List and if a substance is found on this list, there will be an import tracking limit apply for it which is 1000 Kg/year in Canada. While CEPA doesn’t directly regulate cosmetics, the assessment of chemicals and substances under CEPA can inform decisions about the safety of ingredients used in these products.

Prohibited and Restricted Substances: CEPA empowers the government to control or prohibit certain substances deemed harmful to the environment or human health. If a cosmetic ingredient is found to pose a significant risk, it could be subject to restrictions or prohibitions under CEPA.

How a Dell Tech CEPA Cosmetic Consultant Can Help

For 40+ years, we’ve provided regulatory support and expertise to cosmetic companies entering the Canadian market. Some of our services include:

  • Evaluate DSL and NDSL chemical substances
  • New Substances Notifications (NSN) preparation and submission
  • Canadian agent support for New Substance Notifications
  • Significant New Activity (SNAc) interpretations
  • Comprehensive analysis of Canadian CEPA compliance response strategies
  • Label & marketing review and claim substantiation testing for other consumer products

Does your company have questions about CEPA regulatory requirements, ingredient assessment and notification submission, the New Substance Notification program, or a related topic?

Contact Dell Tech for regulatory support —we’re here to help!


Dell Tech has provided professional, confidential consulting services to the specialty chemical 

industry in Canada, the USA, Europe, and Asia for the last 40 years.

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