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Essential Oils and REACH: Commission and industry meet to address registration issues

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A workshop held at the European Commission in Brussels on 8 April brought together representatives of essential oils producers from Member States such as France, Italy and Bulgaria, following serious concerns expressed by the industry that the EU chemicals legislation REACH and CLP (Classification, Labelling and Packaging) would hamper the continuation of their business.

The industry representatives made it clear to the Commission that they are willing to comply and to take up their responsibility, but that their substances are not standard chemicals – their properties and composition may depend on many different conditions. In addition, many producers are small companies that will now face complex chemicals legislation for the first time.

The Commission and ECHA welcomed the industry's commitment to comply, and promised to work together with the sector on the development of specific guidelines for the essential oils industry to help companies fulfil their obligations. At the same time, the Commission is also addressing the concerns expressed by SMEs at a workshop in December last year, at which some essential oils producers were present as well, and will propose implementing legislation to address issues like cost sharing and data sharing in the substance information exchange forums which are a typical requirement of REACH.

REACH aims to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. REACH also promotes the free circulation of substances on the internal market and aims to enhance competitiveness and innovation. The CLP Regulation ensures that the hazards presented by chemicals are clearly communicated to workers and consumers in the European Union through classification and labelling of chemicals.

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