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Diversity in preserving agents is crucial

DETIC is requesting a more overarching approach as regards the various legislations

Preserving agents are essential ingredients for storing products such as detergents, cleaning products, cosmetics, adhesives and mastics, and biocides. They are added in small quantities to water-based products. Without these ingredients, such products would be laden with mould and unwanted bacteria in no time. Preserving agents ensure that products can be adequately stored during manufacture, transport and sale. They also protect the products against contamination during use, which is particularly important for cosmetics.

Preserving agents are subject to a host of stringent legislative procedures: in cosmetics, they are governed by the cosmetics regulation and in other products, the biocide regulation applies. But it does not stop there. There is also the regulation on the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (the CLP Regulation), which can impact significantly on the authorisation to include preserving agents in these products, and specifically in consumer goods. And that’s the snag.

The various levels of legislative procedures risk reducing the range of preserving agents available. This means that the manufacturers of the products referred to above have to cope with an ever narrower selection of preserving agents to preserve their mixtures. One consequence of this is that consumers/users are more exposed to the preserving agents in this narrow range. Long-term exposure to the same ingredients can increase the risk of allergic reactions.

preserving agents legislation

So diversity in the range of preserving agents is extremely important. Not only to reduce the risk of allergic reactions, but also because not every preserving agent is suitable for every formula. Some preserving agents have a limited spectrum and limited effectiveness. Moreover, hardly any new preserving agents have come onto the market in recent years owing to the stringent legislative procedures. This means that formulating products with a limited number of preserving agents is a huge challenge.

DETIC is therefore requesting that the issue of diversity in preserving agents be taken into account and that a more overarching approach be considered as regards the various legislations.