Article by: Perry Romanowski

I saw this article about REACH which suggests that the EU regulation is costing industry between 1.5 and 2 billion Euro annually. It makes me wonder, who is this helping?

In case you don’t know REACH is a regulatory framework that requires raw material suppliers to register their products with the EU in order to allow them to be used in cosmetic products. Ostensibly, this will make cosmetic products safer. But is it?

I don’t think so. Cosmetic products have an excellent track record of safety (especially ones produced in the more developed countries of the world). Why do we need to spend billions of dollars or Euros on more regulation?

The result of this regulation is a stifling of cosmetic product innovation. Raw material companies can no longer create innovative new ingredients because if they do, it costs too much money to register. And animal testing is banned so there is no good way test the new raw materials for safety. The result is chemists have to create formulas with existing raw materials.

The cosmetic chemist loses as do the consumers looking for products that really work better.

Of course, stories like the recent one about the FDA warning consumers against using certain skin lightening because they contain mercury, it is clear that some regulation is needed.

I don’t know what the right level regulation is but it doesn’t seem to me that REACH or the ones kicking around the US right now are the right ones.

What do you think about the level of cosmetic regulation?

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5 comments

  1. Colin

    You don’t have to be Ron Paul to find REACH a bit overbearing. It is I believe the most complex single piece of legislation passed anywhere in the world. I don’t think making anything that complicated is a good idea.

  2. Gabriella

    Actually, one of the reasons behind REACH was to increase innovation. Before REACH, the legislation in the EU was different for “new” and “existing” chemicals (the cut-off date being 1981). New chemicals had to be tested before being put on the market, but the existing chemicals could be used freely without any testing.
    REACH regulations.

    1. Perry

      Thanks for the information Gabriella. My interaction with Reach regulations has only been on the outside but I’ve heard from suppliers that it makes it much less desirable to make new raw materials.

    1. Perry

      Thanks for the link Pedro. I’ll have to take a closer look at the way Japanese regulators do it.

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