REACH clarifies use of chemicals in cosmetics

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cosmetics directive, European union

The adoption of the new EU chemicals legislation, REACH, by a broad
majority of the European Parliament at first reading has been
welcomed by Colipa, which believes the clarification of the use of
chemicals in cosmetics products will serve to increase consumer

Sebastian Marx, director of communications of the European cosmetic, toiletry and perfumery association, told cosmetics were exempted from the original REACH proposal since their impact on human health is already covered by the Cosmetics Directive.

This had led some MEPs to argue that there was no need for cosmetics to be included in REACH. However Colipa has successfully lobbied for their inclusion, since the scope of REACH is quite different to the directive: it covers the environmental impact, rather than human health.

According to Colipa, the new legislation sits comfortably alongside Cosmetics Directive, which covers product composition, labeling and packaging.

The outcome of the first reading, which took place on Thursday, means that substances used in cosmetic, toiletry and perfumery products, as well as other consumer products, will have to undergo in-depth assessment via reach. Colipa believes that this will serve to boost consumer confidence.

However, insofar as communicating information on chemicals however, Colipa said that the exclusion from downstream users - that is, the industry throughout the length of the supply chain - in the exchange of information between producers and importers of chemicals is regrettable.

"We should be party to all information exchange that takes place, as we have specific knowledge on certain uses of certain chemicals,"​ said Marx.

Another key area in which Colipa has lobbied over REACH has been the threat to a number of substances due to the costs of registration, which could prove prohibitive for small producers of specialty chemicals.

Headway has also been made in this area, as some reliefs for small and medium enterprises are now in place and the discussions look set to continue.

"The REACH system has to manageable, effectively protect the consumer and secure the competitiveness of the European cosmetics industry and its capacity to innovate,"​ said Bertil Heerink, director-general of Colipa.

"We will continue our constructive dialogue with all stakeholders in the next stages of the decision-making process in order to secure that the new chemicals legislation can be implemented successfully."

The next stage is for the council to adopt its opinion, although there is some question at present as to whether this will take place this year or next.

The vote at a meeting to be held on 28 November has been postponed. Marx said that another meeting may be scheduled close to Christmas, which would mean that the matter could be wrapped up under the current UK presidency. The presidency transfers to Austria in January 2006.

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