REACH Extends Its Reach

By Tom Branna, Editor | January 9, 2006

Regulations aren’t sexy. Go to any industry conference and it’s a safe bet that the regulatory track will be one of the more poorly attended segments. Folks would much rather hear about the latest new technology or marketing ideas...you know, the kind of stuff that makes companies money, not costs them money. And make no mistake, regulations cost the household and personal products industry millions every year.

But now, there’s regulations coming out of Europe that have even veteran industry experts concerned. The European Union’s REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of CHemicals) program will have a major impact on companies that manufacture or import more than one ton of a chemical substance a year. Under the REACH initiative, companies are reequired to register the chemical in a central database. According to the EU, the aims of REACH are to improve the protection of human health and the environment while maintaining the competitiveness and enhancing the innovative capability of the EU chemicals industry. But industry experts say the expensive, time-consuming process will cause major headaches for industry.

In fact, Harvey Gedeon, Estée Lauder’s senior VP-global research and development, said REACH could force companies to reformulate entire product lines. Despite that threat, very few senior level executives seem to be aware of REACH.

The Soap and Detergent Association has been issuing warnings about REACH since the EU adopted the proposal back in 2003. SDA has been at the forefront of U.S. industry efforts to address high production volume (HPV) chemicals. You can be sure that REACH and HPV will be major topics of conversation at the SDA annual meeting that will take place in Boca Raton, FL this month.

Of course, the laundry detergent market is about much more than regulations. For the latest on new product developments, be sure to read Christine Esposito’s in-depth article on laundry detergent trends in this edition of Happi.com. Also this month, Happi.com includes in-depth articles on skin delivery systems and natural personal care products.

Finally, this month we begin a new feature on Happi.com. Our “online-only” feature includes an article on Clairol’s New Hair Care Initiatives for 2006.


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