US workshop unravels mysteries of REACH

By Louise Prance

- Last updated on GMT

The implications of the recent European Parliament approval of the
REACH programme has gone trans-Atlantic, with US cosmetics
manufacturers attending a special workshop to quash worries
regarding the affect it will have on their industry.

The European Parliament voted to approve the new bill known as REACH - Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals - after more than three years of debate between industry and environmentalists, making it one of the most controversial laws in years.

The Color Pigments Manufacturers Association (CPMA) has organised a special workshop during its 2007 international conference on high performance and traditional color pigments, The Value of Color.

The REACH implementation could cause worry for US manufacturers who import or manufacture cosmetic chemicals in the European Union and who are unaware of the consequences of the new regulation.

Iren Borissova, special advisor for the trade section of the Washington Delegation of the European Commission, will be a key speaker and will dispel worries by outlining the current requirement details for the legislation.

Other speakers from Canadian, European and US companies will attend the workshop, held in Baltimore in April, addressing issues that will or may arise following the recent announcement.

The vote for the implementation came weeks after a deal with EU governments settled the most litigious issues.

The European Commission has estimated that the new law will cost the chemical industry between €2.8bn and €5.2bn over the next decade, while it would save Europe €54bn euros over 30 years because a smaller number of people would become ill as a result of exposure to dangerous chemicals.

The legislation, which EU nations have until 2018 to implement, will affect the cosmetics industry by targeting both the chemicals used in packaging of products, as well as some used in formulations. The EU previously relied on a negative list to regulate the use of chemicals. This meant any chemical not on the EU blacklist could normally be used for the production of cosmetics.

Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch international manufacturer of personal care products, said it wholly complies with the new rules and is encouraging similar companies to embrace the changes in order to promote "consumer confidence in products containing chemicals".

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