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Guidance on environmental assessment for essential oils now available


The European industry associations for essential oils have published new guidelines to help companies to fulfil their legal requirements for the environmental assessment of natural complex substances.

Helsinki, 27 June 2016 – The guidelines help producers of essential oils to assess the environmental effects of their substances to fulfil their legal requirements for classification and labelling and REACH registration. It will also assist them is assessing the potential persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) and very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) properties of their substances.

This sector-specific support has been prepared in close cooperation with ECHA. It is based on the official ECHA guidance on Information Requirements and Chemical Safety Assessment. Users of these guidelines should consult ECHA's website for any updates on the official guidance.

The guidelines will be available in selected EU languages by the end of 2016.

Essential oil producers can seek further help through the European Federation of Essential Oils (EFEO) and International Fragrance Association (IFRA).


Essential oils are derived from various sections of plants and are obtained by distillation, steam distillation or expression. They are complex substances that may warrant a tailored approach to their identification. Several factors such as the region of growth, the climate within the region, the part of the plant used as source material and the process applied lead to natural variations in their chemical composition. Their complexity varies widely from simple substances with only few constituents to very complex ones with more than 100 constituents.

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