May 15 --U.S. and European authorities may never be able to
reconcile their regulatory schemes for chemicals and cosmetics, but
they could cooperate more closely in a number of ways, including
how they classify and label chemicals, according to two position
papers published by the European Commission May 14.
The papers, which the commission said it published in the
interest of transparency, noted that there is little scope for
significantly harmonizing the regulatory regimes on either side of
the Atlantic, but that the proposed Transatlantic Trade and
Investment Partnership (TTIP) offers opportunities for sharing of
information, scientific cooperation and mutual consultation at
early stages in regulatory processes.
On chemicals, the commission said there is "great potential" for
the EU and U.S. to align their substance classification and
labeling regimes with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System
of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.
The EU has implemented GHS through its 2008 CLP Regulation
(Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 on the classification, labeling and
packaging of substances and mixtures). The commission paper said
that in the U.S., only the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration has implemented GHS for chemicals used in the
workplace, and there is scope for GHS implementation in other areas
of U.S. chemicals regulation.
Over time, this could lead to harmonized EU-U.S. classifications
for chemicals, which could "become a good basis for a global list,"
the commission paper said.
The commission paper on chemicals also said that regulatory
authorities could cooperate on prioritization of chemicals for
assessment and on scientific research so that, for example, animal
tests are not unnecessarily duplicated. The papers also cited the
benefits of mutual consultation on emerging issues, such as
regulation of endocrine disruptors and nanosubstances.
However, "neither full harmonisation nor mutual recognition [of
chemicals regulation] seems feasible" because the EU's REACH law
(Regulation No. 1907/2006 on the registration, evaluation, and
authorization of chemicals) and the U.S. Toxic Substances Control
Act are "too different," the commission paper said.
The commission paper on cosmetics also said that TTIP could
result in greater scientific collaboration and converging labeling
requirements. In addition, the EU and U.S. could recognize one
another's lists of banned and permitted cosmetics ingredients, and
could minimize differences in their standards and guidance related
to cosmetics manufacturing.
The two papers on the EU position on chemicals and cosmetics in
TTIP were published alongside similar papers on motor vehicles,
pharmaceuticals, and textiles and clothing.
Lena Perenius, executive director for International Chemicals
Management at the European Chemical Industry Council, told
Bloomberg BNA May 15 the commission paper on chemicals was "on the
right path," and a "realistic approach."
The approach outlined in the paper would "maintain the right of
regulators to regulate," but would lead in the long run to greater
alignment of the scientific basis for regulation of chemicals,
She added that scientific cooperation could be emphasized more
strongly in the trans-Atlantic negotiations.
The European Chemicals Agency in a statement to Bloomberg BNA
May 15 said that on chemicals, it had been "regularly consulted and
has provided technical input to the commission in relation to the
Greg Skelton, senior director of international regulatory and
technical affairs for the American Chemistry Council, said in a May
15 statement, "We were pleased to see that the EU position on
chemical regulatory cooperation echoes many of the priorities
identified in earlier industry submissions, including increased
cooperation on prioritization and coherence in chemical assessment,
enhanced data and information sharing, and further cooperation on
new and emerging issues.
"ACC also supports further work on classification and labeling,
including reducing or eliminating the need for dual
classifications, although we would prefer that the U.S. and EU
defer to the UN Global List of Classified Chemicals as a common
classification inventory rather than establishing their own."
Skelton also said the EU documents are "silent on two key
priorities for ACC: greater transparency in the regulatory process
(including in regulator to regulator dialogue); and enhanced
scientific cooperation, which could help minimize the potential for
imposing additional regulatory barriers when revising or developing
The fifth round of TTIP talks take place in Arlington, Va., May
By Stephen Gardner
To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Gardner in
Brussels at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Greg Henderson
The European Commission papers on chemicals and cosmetics
are available at http://bit.ly/1g5wzI7.
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