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How do latest EU Regulatory Laws affect cleaning products market?
Chemicals are arguably the main element and driving force of EU product regulation which, in turn, influences the marketing of products in the EU and worldwide. Although general chemical legislation (REACH or CLP) is well understood and implemented by many companies within the EU, there are some ongoing restrictions and authorisation requirements which may be more difficult for companies to get to grips with. So, what are the latest developments in EU regulatory law, and how do they impact the cleaning products industry?
Ales Bartl is an Associate at McKenna Long & Aldridge, specialising in EU product regulatory law and particularly in chemicals legislation. He is also the leader of this year's Cleaning Products Europe pre-conference workshop.
In his years of experience, which aspects of chemical legislation are the most difficult for companies to get to grips with and why?
"The biocidal sector has to accommodate the new EU Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) which brings forward new elements, namely in connection with active substances, which are subject to transitional measures," he explains.
"Of course, the EU chemicals regulation brings significant administrative burden, in particular for SMEs.
“These regulations do, however, have a number of benefits. Having centralised rules for chemicals at EU level has simplified the simultaneous marketing of products in several EU Member States and also saves administrative resources and costs."
There has been discussion as to whether EU regulations are stringent enough, or conversely, whether they act as too high a barrier to new product placement. Where does Ales Bartl stand on the subject?
"When compared to the US, China, Japan etc., EU legislation appears to be the most stringent and complex,", he argues, although he goes on to suggest that the strict nature of the regulations may be a necessity…
"In my opinion, they are well balanced between the need for protection of health and the environment, and the need to maintain the competitiveness of the EU's industry."
Similarly, Ales is keen to state that any barriers to product placement due to health or environmental concerns must continue to be carefully assessed against socio-economic impacts.
It is worth noting that in this dynamic industry, regulations can be subject to change and amendment. To what extent are chemical regulations set to change in coming years?
"The basic EU legal framework has already been established and I do not expect any structural change," argues Ales. "Of course, the EU will continue to adapt its regulation to technical progress, for example with regard to nano-materials. In addition, the EU will also continue to identify substances that are carcinogenic, reprotoxic or that have (or might have) endocrine disruption properties."
The new EU Biocidal Products Regulation is also set to impact the home care industry. Ales explains: "A wide range of homecare biocidal products contain active substances that are still under the EU review programme and thus are still subject to national authorisations." He adds that some active substances will eventually not be approved, which will affect large industry segments. To combat this, producers should keep themselves up-to-date regarding the status of their active substances, and be ready for potential phase-outs. He adds that they should also consider advocacy possibilities and legal remedies regarding negative decisions.
Ales will be speaking at the Cleaning Products Europe Pre-conference Workshop, being held in Manchester this March, from 25th – 27th. The workshop will present applicable EU legislation, taking examples and borderline products as a benchmark. Based on questions and answers, this event will provide a possibility for companies to share their regulatory experiences and challenges. Don't miss out and book your place at Cleaning Products Europe now at:
6th March 2014