Socio-Economic Impacts of REACH

The European Commission said it will take "concrete action" to prevent any disruption to trans-Atlantic trade caused by an oversight in REACH that could be read to exclude US cosmetics from a phase-in period for registration of substances. 

Unless rectified, the oversight means that some cosmetics manufactured outside the European Union will not be eligible for the REACH pre-registration period and must instead go through the complex and time-consuming process of completing full registrations. Failure to do so could mean that US cosmetics manufacturers may be on the EU market illegally after June 1, 2008. 

However, the Commission, in a statement released May 13, 2008 indicated it would take the "necessary steps, within its competence" to rectify the anomaly in REACH. 

The problem with cosmetics ingredients arose because phase-in substances under REACH are defined as substances listed in the European Inventory of Existing Commercial Chemical Substances. Not all ingredients in US-made cosmetics meet this criteria. 

Although the Commission said it will resolve the problem, it did not give any details, simply saying that it will "ensure that trade in cosmetics and personal care products is not disrupted by REACH implementation." 

Additionally, the European Chemicals Agency has issued guidance that European member states or interested parties could use to develop socio-economic analyses of the impact of a proposed restriction on the manufacturing, sales or use of a chemical within the European Union. The guidance (212 pages) can be found at

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