Event Reports

“Safety is the Key”

Scientific Conference on Safety Assessment
15/16 June 2023, Petersberg/Bonn


Today, the safety of cosmetics is at a high level. Safety assessors all over the world contribute significantly to this.

The position of a safety assessor was introduced into cosmetics legislation in the European Union (EU) about 30 years ago. Already at that time, there were considerations on how to support the aspiring safety assessors in their demanding task. In an intensive exchange with members of the Cosmetics Commission at what is now the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), the idea was born to set up a special training programme. IKW and DGK implemented the idea together with the experts and developed a comprehensive training and further education programme for safety assessors. On 16 June 2023, its 25th anniversary was celebrated on the Petersberg near Bonn.

The initial face-to-face courses in German with five modules have now become a customised training programme in German and English. The programme now comprises 7 modules, which are offered in parallel as face-to-face events and as web trainings. Supplementary seminars, which are held twice a year in Germany, are now held in many countries and regions of the world, e.g. in Poland, the USA, India and South Africa.

The symposium at Petersberg was dominated by international exchange: the topic of safety was examined from different perspectives by a wide range of experts from all over the world. John Chave (Cosmetics Europe), Ralph Pirow (BfR) and Kristin Schreiber (EU Commission) described the milestones and achievements to date. Prof. Gerhard Eisenbrand (Chairman of the Cosmetics Commission at BfR and co-founder of the training) used the example of nitrosamines to illustrate the progress that has been made in the meantime in the field of cosmetics safety. Prof. Vera Rogiers (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Bart Heldreth (CIR) and Eric Vaillancourt (Health Canada) contributed further perspectives from a regulatory and scientific point of view. As fragrances are also an important component of cosmetic products, one presentation was also dedicated to their safety. Danielle Botelho presented the activities of RIFM ‒ in the future, RIFM publications will be listed on the safetyassessor.info website. Market surveillance for cosmetics also plays an important role. In this respect, a presentation by Prof. Johannes Geier from the Information Network of Dermatological Clinics was not to be missed.

Picture © Jennifer Jacquemart

Another important topic: New generations of risk assessment without animal testing are becoming increasingly relevant for safety assessment. In this regard, Erin Hill (ICCS) presented the activities of her organisation. Together with ICCS and Cosmetics Europe, two new modules of the training programme are currently being developed. From the end of 2023, safety assessors will have the opportunity to receive further training on this topic and on the environmental assessment of cosmetic products.

The afternoon of the symposium was then devoted to specific case studies, each of which was examined from different angles. Here the focus was on aluminium (David Mason, Ralph Pirow), endocrine disruptors (George Manikas, Thomas Broschard), hair dyes (Eric Dufour, Brunhilde Bloemeke), UV protection (Nicole Braun, Christopher Krueger) and nanomaterials (Florian Schellauf, Claudia Baumung).

Conclusion: An all-round successful anniversary event with outstanding and highly motivated speakers in the best weather at an extraordinary location!

Impressions from the Conference

Pictures © Jennifer Jacquemart



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Web Seminar for Safety Assessors in September 2021

The DGK/IKW seminars for safety assessors in English language, which are offered annually in connection with the HPCI CEE in Warsaw, have become a permanent fixture in the event calendar of IKW and DGK. The seminars are actively supported by both Polish cosmetic associations. In 2021, the Corona pandemic has forced us "at the last minute" for the second time in a row to offer the event virtually as a web seminar. Even though the seminars for safety assessors live to a large extent from the presence, personal exchange and practical exercises on site, we still managed to put together a varied alternative programme, which was also used by more than 40 safety assessors from all over the world to refresh and expand their expertise. A recording of the seminar is available for booking at safetyassessor.info/seminars. We look forward to the next on-site event in Warsaw on 21 September 2022!

5th International Seminar for Safety Assessors in Warsaw

For the fifth time, DGK and IKW organized a seminar for safety assessors in Warsaw on 25 September 2019. The seminar was co-organized by the two Polish cosmetic associations who also contributed competent presentations. About 40 participants, mainly from Poland and other Eastern European countries, followed the presentations with interest and participated vividly in the following discussions on practical questions in the afternoon. The next seminar in Warsaw is expected to take place on October 7, 2020, as always in conjunction with the HPCI Central and Eastern Europe.

Impressions from Warsaw

Pictures © Marcin Szulżycki (marszull.com)

First Seminar for Safety Assessors in South Africa

The DGK/IKW training courses for safety assessors are now also available as webinars in English. However, it is also important that the safety assessors can meet and exchange views. For this reason, DGK and IKW have established cooperations with various countries, which then offer such seminars on a national level. For the first time DGK and IKW together with the South African Cosmetics Association CTFA offered such a seminar on 5 September 2019 in Johannesburg on the occasion of the HPCI conference. The interest of the approximately 100 listeners in the presentations was great and the event was an outstanding success. Thus, IKW and DGK are helping to raise the level of safety of cosmetic products worldwide.


20 Years of Education for Safety Assessors

Scientific Symposium on 11 April 2018 in Frankfurt am Main


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How do safety assessors ensure that cosmetic products are safe in terms of health? How are the methods for the scientific assessment of contact allergies to be classified? And – which alternative methods to animal experiments are available for the safety assessment of cosmetic products? These are only a few of the highly complex issues which were presented by renowned experts from Germany and abroad at the scientific symposium “20 years of education for safety assessors”, to which IKW and DGK invited (see full programme). More than 130 safety assessors accepted the offer to have an interdisciplinary, intense exchange on current issues in the field of safety assessment.

In order for consumers within the EU to be able to rely on cosmetic products being safe, the work of the safety assessors is indispensable. They are the experts who are in charge of safeguarding that cosmetics comply with all demands imposed by legislation. A demanding mission which requires knowledge from different disciplines such as chemistry, toxicology, dermatology and cosmetics law. Regular continuing education which keeps the safety assessor always on the most recent state of science and legislation is a must.

This work has been performed for 20 years for DGK and IKW with their offering of continuing education courses which are regularly attended by many safety assessors and are completed with a certificate. Birgit Huber, Head of the Competence Partner Beauty Care within IKW: “We are pleased that the offer of the different course modules has been accepted so well by the safety assessors during the past 20 years, because continuing education in this field is very important. We will continue to work in future on the courses taking place on a very high level and representing a genuine support for the safety assessors.”

IKW and DGK attach a particularly high value to the selection of speakers and ensure that experts from universities, public authorities and industry pass on their expert knowledge to the safety assessors. Concerning the offer of continuing education, it is, moreover, ensured that the contents are practice-oriented and imparted in an intuitively accessible manner. This helps the safety assessors at the implementation in their everyday work. And public authorities appreciate the continuing education events in the same way, since this allows them to judge the work of the safety assessors even better and engage in further education themselves. Another benefit of the events is the direct personal exchange with other colleagues and experts who can help in dealing with issues.

For some time already, the continuing education programme has also been available in English. This means that safety assessors from outside Germany can likewise benefit from the continuing education offering of DGK and IKW.

Symposium in Frankfurt, 2018

* Names of speakers on the foto (© IKW / Bernd Georg): Front row (from left to right): Dr. Gerd Mildau, Chemisches und Veterinär-Untersuchungsamt, Karlsruhe; Dr. Andreas Butschke, Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (BVL), Braunschweig; Prof. Dr. Johannes Geier, Informationsverbund Dermatologischer Kliniken (IVDK), Universitätsmedizin Göttingen; Prof. Dr. Vera Rogiers, In vitro Toxicology and Dermato-Cosmetology (IVTD), Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Dr. Hartmut Schmidt-Lewerkühne, Präsident DGK e. V., Thannhausen; Dr. Anke Meisner, Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft (BMEL), Berlin; Britta Klebon, DGK e. V., Thannhausen; Dr. Rob Taalman, Cosmetics Europe, Brussels. Top row (from left to right): Prof. Dr. Gerhard Eisenbrand, Senior Research Professor (Retired) Food Chemistry & Toxicology; Prof. Dr. Lothar Motischke (retired); Birgit Huber, stellvertretende Geschäftsführerin des IKW e. V., Frankfurt am Main; Dr. Annegret Blume, Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR), Berlin; Prof. Dr. Walter Sterzel, Universität Duisburg-Essen; Dr. Bart A. Heldreth, Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), Washington, D.C.