Cosmetics trade endangered by REACH

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, European commission, Cosmetics

Urgent last minute negotiations are underway to ensure that
cosmetics trade is not severely disrupted by the June 1 deadline
for REACH registration.

The Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) is afraid that cosmetic chemicals traded in Europe for decades will be classified as "non phase-in substances" and could therefore be turned away from EU shores from June 1. Chemicals that fall into this category will have to be registered with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) by the end of the week unlike "phase-in substances" which are given the luxury of a transitional period of several years. Unfair treatment​ Francine Lamoriello, PCPC executive vice president for global strategies, told "We believe it is unfair that these substances be treated as though they were "new substances" under REACH, and if these substances are required to be registered on June 1, 2008, there would surely be trade disruptions,"​ To prevent REACH from endangering trade, the US cosmetics industry is pushing hard for a resolution. "As the June 1 deadline is very close, the situation is urgent,"​ added Lamoriello. "We are in continued dialogue with US and EU authorities about this and are expecting further guidance from the EC and ECHA very soon." Conctrete action​ The issue topped the agenda at the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) meeting two weeks ago when European Commissioners assured US cabinet ministers that "concrete action" would be taken to prevent disruption to cosmetics trade. Mattias Sundholm, spokesperson for the EC delegation, told "Together with Member States and the ECHA agency in Helsinki we are looking for a pragmatic solution, based on the existing legislation." ​ Lamoriello said the PCPC was encouraged by the TEC statements. Nonetheless, a solution has yet to be found despite US calls for eventual modifications to the REACH text and a way forward that will prevent trade disruption. The PCPC is also concerned that companies importing cosmetic substances defined as non phase-in substances into the EU will not able to participate in the Substance Information Exchange Fora (SIEF). This allows for data sharing and joint submissions so the US trade association claims exclusion could lead to duplicative testing. REACH applies to all substances that are imported into the EU in quantities over one tonne. While non phase-in substances must be registered by June 1, those in the phase-in category will be entitled to a transitional period so long as they are pre-registered between June 1 and December 1 this year. For pre-registration, a company needs only to submit basic information on the phase-in substance to the ECHA but if it fails to do so it must fully register the substance to continue trade.

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