PARIS Feb 13 The European Commission on
Thursday proposed tighter regulation of the $31 billion
fragrance industry with a series of bans, labelling requirements
and research projects aimed at protecting consumers from
The new rules could force perfume makers to change many of
their formulas, incurring extra costs.
It was not yet clear how major perfume brands such Dior and
Guerlain, owned by the world's biggest luxury group LVMH
, or privately owned Chanel, would be affected by the
new regulation. No one at Chanel or LVMH was immediately
available for comment on Thursday.
The EU Commission proposed a ban on three molecules
contained in popular perfume ingredients, such as oak moss and
tree moss, to protect consumers from potential allergies.
The news means the EU executive body is giving its first
judicial response to a report on allergies it had commissioned
from the advisory Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety
(SCCS), which was published in July 2012.
The report called for drastically reducing the use of many
natural ingredients found in perfumes, on the basis that 1 to 3
percent of the EU population may be allergic or may become
allergic to them.
The recommendations of the report, if adopted by the
Commission, threaten to seriously damage the fragrance industry.
The report recommended restricting the concentration of 12
substances - including citral, found in lemon and tangerine
oils; coumarin, found in tropical tonka beans; and eugenol,
found in rose oil - to 0.01 percent of the finished product.
It also proposed an outright ban on tree moss and oak moss,
which provides distinctive woody base notes in Chanel's No.5 and
Dior's Miss Dior.
On Thursday, the EU Commission proposed conducting further
research to determine what level of concentration should be used
for those 12 ingredients and for another eight. These
ingredients represent the spine of about 90 percent of fine
fragrances, according to experts.
"We have to find a way of ensuring security of consumers but
also avoid causing damage to the industry," said a spokesman for
Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for Consumer Safety.
The commission proposed a ban of atranaol and chloroatranol,
molecules found in oak moss and tree moss, two of the most
commonly used raw materials because of their rich, earthy aroma
and ability to 'fix' a perfume to make it last longer.
Juice manufacturers are currently working to make them
available without these two molecules and industry sources say
major perfume makers have already started modifying their
LILY OF THE VALLEY
The EU executive also proposed to ban HICC, a synthetic
molecule which replicates the lily of the valley aroma and which
has also been widely used by perfume makers.
It is also proposing to significantly lengthen the list of
molecules and ingredients perfume makers have to label on the
packaging of their products to warn potentially sensitive users.
The proposal, which will effectively take the form of an
amendment to the Cosmetics Regulation adopted in 2009, will
undergo a public consultation period of 12 weeks and could be
adopted as early as the end of this year.
"We broadly welcome the proposed measures," said Pierre
Sivac, president if the International Fragrance Association, the
perfume industry's self-regulatory body.
Since its creation in 1973, IFRA, which is financed by scent
makers such as Givaudan, New York-listed International
Flavors & Fragrances and Germany's Symrise,
has restricted natural ingredients for a range of health
reasons, from worries about allergies to cancer concerns.
Many traditional essences that perfume creators consider
core to their craft have been blacklisted in recent decades.
Birch tar oil was removed from Guerlain's Shalimar several
decades ago because it was thought to be a cancer risk. Clove
oil and rose oil, which contain a component called eugenol, and
lavender, which contains linalool, may only be used in limited
quantities in case of allergies.
IFRA has already introduced restrictions on oak moss and
tree moss because of worries about skin sensitivity.