Lettre au Commissaire européen à l'environnement, M. Virginijus SINKEVIČIUS, pour défendre la production française de lavande

Mr. Virginijus SINKEVIČIUS 
Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries
Copy to: Mr. Janusz Czesław Wojciechowski 
Commissioner for Agriculture     

Brussels,  22/09/2021

Dear Commissioner, 

Hereby, we want to express our great concern about the forthcoming legislative developments regarding the CLP and the REACH regulations and their potential impact on the essential oils industry in Europe. 

In France, the lavender and the lavandin sector alone generates more than 9,000 direct and 17,000 indirect jobs. The agricultural production is highly dependent on supplies to the essential oils companies, which absorb 90 per cent of its market sales. Honey and tourism are also significant outlets.

This production is part of our French identity and it has expanded in recent years contributing to the preservation of biodiversity, in line with the new objectives of the Green Deal.

We would like to draw your attention about the risks of overregulation on essential oils as this industry is mostly made up by small enterprises. Consumer's perception on those products may be radically altered, resulting in a strong economic damage for the entire production chain, from farmers to final producers. 

In our opinion, being obtained by simple distillation of plants, essential oils deserve a dedicated assessment process. 

Regarding the revision of the regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP), a radical modification of the criteria to determine the dangerousness of essential oils may lead to a dramatic economic damage.

Essential oils should be assessed as indivisible products and not as mixtures of compounds.  Mostly because unlike synthetic products, their molecules cannot be replaced and in the case of essential oils, the number of molecules is extremely high.

Concerning the current REACH regulation, we would also like to express our worries about the potential application of new restrictive and disproportionate approaches on allergens affecting the public perception of essential oils. 

For all these reasons, we kindly ask you to take into consideration the specificities of those substances. We consider that appropriate and proportionate measures should be applied to essential oils while ensuring consumers and environmental safety.

We thank you very much for your attention. 

Yours sincerely, 

Irène Tolleret, Sylvie Brunet, Jérémy Decerle, Christophe Grudler, Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, Sandro Gozi, Laurence Farreng, Stéphane Bijoux, Ilana Cicurel, Bernard Guetta, Fabienne Keller, Pierre Karleskind.