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C 261 E/166 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 18.9.


Cedefop has organised 937 conferences and meetings in the period 1995-2000 with 19 242 participants.
Approximately 55 % of these were organised in Thessaloniki. For the years 1995 to 1999, when the
provisional rented premises of the Centre did not offer all necessary facilities for large-scale meetings, a
considerable number of them (45 %) had to take place elsewhere. Since the beginning of 2000, 75 % of the
meetings and conferences are held in Thessaloniki and take place in the Centre’s premises, which offer
state-of- the-art infrastructure and equipment.

(2001/C 261 E/191) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0626/01

by Nicholas Clegg (ELDR) to the Commission

(1 March 2001)

Subject: Hypersensitivity

Has the Commission any figures available to it of the increase in the number of people with the symptoms
of hypersensitivity (i.e. asthma, rhinitis and eczema etc.), as a result of exposure to perfumed products? In
view of the dramatic increase in the number of people with allergic reactions to certain perfumes and
fragrances, has the Commission considered amending the relevant Community legislation to ban the use of
those materials that are known to cause hypersensitivity?

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(18 May 2001)

Consumers are exposed to many products containing fragrance ingredients or aroma which may cause
sensibilisation such as household products, cosmetic and hygiene products or food. Depending on the type
of products concerned these ingredients may be inhaled, applied on the skin or ingested. The analysis of
the problem of fragrance allergy would request to consider the various sources of exposure.

On 8 December 1999, the Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products (SCCNFP)
adopted an opinion on ‘Fragrance allergy in Consumers’. The report considered the problem of contact
allergy caused by fragrance ingredients and, based on dermatological data reflecting the clinical experience,
identified initially 24 fragrance ingredients corresponding to the most frequently recognised allergens.
Some studies showed that around 8 % of tested eczema patients are sensitised to fragrance ingredients.
Investigations of contact allergy in the general population are difficult to perform and for this reasons few
studies exist. However, from studies performed on sectors of the population, it is estimated that the
frequency of contact allergy to fragrance ingredients in the general population is around 1 or 2 %. A rising
trend of fragrance allergy among eczema patients has been demonstrated in some clinics in Europe. The
SCCNFP considered necessary to provide additional information to sensitised consumers regarding the
presence of these fragrance ingredients in cosmetic products to help them to avoid cosmetic products
which contain these specific substances above a level which may elicit a skin reaction.

Experience with other skin allergens, such as certain preservatives or Nickel, has shown that a total ban is
not necessary to control skin allergy. Ingredients of this type can be used safely provided they are restricted
to safe levels and that sufficient information is given to sensitised consumers.

The Commission wants to address fragrance allergy in a meaningful manner. It considers that it is not
appropriate to ban the substances simply because they may cause allergy to some people but that it is
crucial to inform consumers of the presence of such ingredients in order for them to avoid products
containing these ingredients. Therefore, for cosmetic products, Council Directive 76/768/EEC of 27 July
1976 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cosmetic products (1) could be
amended in order to introduce a meaningful and unambiguous labelling for specific fragrance ingredients
with a well-recognised potential to cause contact allergy in order to ensure adequate information for
18.9.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 261 E/167

sensitised consumers, by ensuring that these fragrance ingredients be mentioned in the list of ingredients.
Furthermore, the SCCNFP is currently reviewing the scientific data on these ingredients in order to identify
safe use levels which will be introduced into Directive 76/768/ECC.

(1) OJ L 262, 27.9.1976.

(2001/C 261 E/192) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0628/01

by Graham Watson (ELDR) to the Commission

(1 March 2001)

Subject: Harm to wearers of pacemakers from shop security systems

Patients wearing pacemakers have been warned by National Health Service Trusts in the UK that some
security systems installed by high street shops, in the form of ‘walk-through’ gates, may pose a threat to
the continued functioning of this vital aid.

What are the Commission’s views on making it compulsory that shops take responsibility for warning
customers quite clearly that their system may pose a danger, before they enter the premises?

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(11 May 2001)

To-date the Commission has not received any information on the warning by National Health Service
Trusts in the United Kingdom that shop security systems may pose a threat to the continued functioning
of pacemakers referred to by the Honourable Member. However, the Commission will request information
on this warning and consider its implications with Member States.

The Commission raised the question with Member States during the Low Voltage Directive Working Party
in June 1999, dealing with the safety of electrical appliances.

All Member States were asked if they had any reports of incidents relating to this and whether there was a
need to consider taking preventive measures. No incidents were identified and, as a consequence, Member
States were of the opinion that further legislation was unnecessary.

As outlined in the reply to written question E-1595/98 by Mrs Jackson (1), the problem is, to an extent,
addressed in the European standard for pacemakers, issued by the European standardisation body Cenelec,
which addresses the immunity of pacemakers to certain types of electromagnetic fields.

Therefore, at present, the Commission has no plans to impose additional legislation in this area.

(1) OJ C 13, 20.1.1999.