ECHA Reviews Tea Tree Oil’s Impact: A Call for Input

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is currently examining the effects of tea tree oil, derived from Melaleuca alternifolia, on health and the environment. Initiated by Poland, this scrutiny aims to reassess the substance’s safety due to concerns over its potential hazards and toxicity, particularly to human health and aquatic life.

Key Points of the Consultation:

  • Nature of Tea Tree Oil: Described as a complex, naturally occurring substance, tea tree oil is composed of terpene hydrocarbons, including monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.
  • Regulatory Background: Tea tree oil is not listed under Cosmetics Regulation 1223/2009 or the CLP Regulation, but its re-authorization is pending under Commission Regulation 823/2012.
  • Proposed Concerns: Highlighted issues include flammability, acute toxicity risks if ingested or inhaled, skin irritation, sensitivity potential, and possible effects on fertility.
  • Impact on Aquatic Life: While its effects on human health are concerning, the proposed damage to aquatic ecosystems is potentially catastrophic.

Open for Contribution:

Stakeholders and individuals with relevant data on tea tree oil are encouraged to participate in the consultation process. The input could be pivotal in the final assessment and subsequent regulatory decisions.

Important Dates:

  • Comment Deadline: January 27, 2023
  • Final Opinion Due: May 18, 2024

This consultation represents a critical opportunity for feedback that could influence the EU’s classification, labeling, and regulatory approach to tea tree oil. ECHA and Poland’s submitting party invite contributions to evaluate the substance’s risks and benefits comprehensively.