Will EU allergy ban annihilate the French perfume industry?

By Michelle Yeomans contact

- Last updated on GMT

Will EU allergy ban annihilate the French perfume industry?

Related tags: European union, European commission

Under EU regulations adopted last year, lavender oil and two elements of oakmoss will be classed as potentially producing allergies, placing them in the chemical toxins category. A ruling some fear will majorly affect the French perfumes industry..

The EC ruling is expected to come into force next year, which will require labels on associated products by 2018, of which two elements contained in oakmoss are included.

The molecules – atranol and chloroatranol are to be banned on the grounds that they could cause up to 3% of the EU population to suffer an allergic reaction.

According to the European Commission, an 'exceptionally high' number of allergy cases have also been linked to HICC, a synthetic molecule.

Fragrances featuring ingredients like these, include luxury original versions of Chanel No 5 and Miss Dior.

The Independent Newspaper reports that Gilles Thévenin, the owner of the Lubin perfume house, describes the proposed regulations as 'technocratic madness'. "They don't realise they're killing the French perfume industry,​" he told the publication.

Lavender oil also in the spotlight..

Lavender oil is also set to be classed as potentially producing allergies which places it within the chemical toxins category. This has come as unwelcome news to French harvesters.... 

According to Provence based farmers, the regulation is too extreme and will threaten profits of lavender oil, also referred to as blue gold, worth over £80 a kilogram.

The French harvesters reckon that under this rule, products containing lavender will have to bear bold black and red warning labels which read “Can be fatal if swallowed or inhaled”, ​for example.

They say that lavender oil, used for perfumes, cosmetics and aromatherapy is not a chemical and allergies only tend to produce rashes.

"What's more is that the oil has been used for healing and calming properties for centuries,"​ they report.

Call for reclassification

According to Francis Vidal, president of Apal, the association representing these producers; the farmers are now fighting “to survive.”

Apal is cultivated by around 1,500 producers, representing 30,000 full-time jobs that include catering to the millions of tourists who come for those panoramic views of purple fields.

While Vidal says harvesters aren't opposed to putting a potential allergy risk on their product, they are against extreme warnings that can be found on chemicals used in industrial processes, such as hydrochloric acid or cleaning products.

Related topics: Business & Financial, Fragrance

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