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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 92 E/221

of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, Ms Xinna and her son were forcibly taken to the region’s
eastern border area and detained there for two days. During Chinese leader Jiang Ze-Min’s visit to Inner
Mongolia in 1999, Ms Xinna was put under house arrest and kept under round-the-clock police

What information can the Commission provide about the degrading and inhuman treatment to which
Ms Xinna and her son have been subjected, and what initiatives has it taken or does it intend to take to
ensure that the Chinese authorities respect civil, political and human rights in Inner Mongolia? What
information can it provide about the Mr Hada’s state of health and that of the other members of the
Southern Mongolia Democratic Alliance arrested by the Chinese authorities? In view of the abuses of
fundamental rights reported above, Beijing’s policy of oppression against the people of Inner Mongolia,
and in particular its relentless pursuit of those who champion democracy and the rule of law, what
initiatives does the Commission intend to take in order to win genuine autonomy for Inner Mongolia’s
people from the Chinese authorities?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(12 November 2002)

The Commission has taken note of the particular situation of the wife and son of Mr Hada, imprisoned
leader of the Democratic Alliance of Inner Mongolia.

The Commission follows closely the human rights situation in China. The Union-China bilateral human
rights dialogue which was established in 1996 offers a valuable opportunity to express our concerns in
this area to the Chinese authorities.

In this dialogue, the Commission regularly addresses issues such as, freedom of expression and association
and respect for the civil and political rights of minorities. In this context, the Commission has paid
particular attention to the situation of individuals who have been persecuted because of their beliefs and

The Commission is concerned about respect for civil and political rights in China and will continue to
monitor the situation with particular attention.

(2003/C 92 E/280) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2939/02

by Chris Davies (ELDR) to the Commission

(10 October 2002)

Subject: Future of aromatherapy

Aromatherapists have voiced concerns that proposals to label fragrance allergens as laid out in the
cosmetics directive 76/768/EEC (1) do not distinguish between synthetic and natural compounds, which
will have serious consequences for their profession.

Further to the Commission reply of 24.9.2002 to Written Question E- 2126/02 (2), aromatherapists
respond by stating that tests carried out with synthetic versions of natural substances often have minor
impurities. These may prove to be the allergens and not the materials themselves. Further it is quite likely
that alleged sensitivity effects arise not from the suspected fragrance allergens themselves (pure limonene,
pure linalol etc.) but from minor amounts of oxidation products which inevitably accompany these
somewhat unstable compounds. It is already known that oxidised limonene, alpha-pinene and oxidised
delta-3-carene cause skin sensitivity problems. Limonene is one of the 26 suspected allergens. In their pure
state, and when antioxidant is added, some at least of these materials may not be sensitisers, and this factor
has not been eliminated from the experimental data.
C 92 E/222 Official Journal of the European Union EN 17.4.2003

Natural compounds occurring in essential oils may have been prevented from oxidising by virtue of other
natural components present e.g. furanocoumarins. There is often no such buffering system present with
mixtures of synthetic compounds. Many natural compounds may be present largely as one specific
geometrical isomer or enantiomeric isomer. Again it is not uncommon to find that certain natural
compounds may occur on two, four or more isomers. Synthetic compounds are often racemic (i.e. a 50-50
mix of enantiomeric isomers) or have differing isomeric distributions. It is not proven in the scientific
literature that these different isomeric forms have the same allergenicity. One form may for example be
devoid of any allergenic effects.

Has the SCCNFP taken these points into account when reaching its conclusions?

(1) OJ L 262, 27.9.1976, p. 169.

(2) OJ C 28 E, 6.2.2003, p. 190.

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(31 October 2002)

The opinion of the Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products intended for
consumers (SCCNFP) of 8 December 1999 concerning the fragrance allergy in consumers is based on and
supported by an extensive number of studies, published in leading scientific journals. None of these studies
indicate a difference in allergenicity between a fragrance ingredient synthetically produced or extracted
from a natural product. An important problem with fragrance substances of ‘natural origin’ is the difficulty
of quality control. There may be considerable variation in the content of toxic/sensitising chemicals;
oakmoss is an example. There is no demonstration in the peer reviewed scientific literature that fragrances
compounds of natural origin are ‘safer’ than synthetic ones.

The Commission is aware that oxidation products and isomers may affect the allergenic potential of certain
fragrance ingredients, both of synthetic and natural origin.

The issue of oxidation products and, as relevant, of isomers has been considered by the SCCNFP, e.g. d-
limonene and its ability to form allergenic oxidation products. No restriction has been proposed on its
other isomers, namely l- and dl-limonene.

Also, the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) recommends that d-, l- and dl-limonene and natural
products containing amounts of it, should only be used when the level of peroxides is kept to the lowest
practical level, for instance by adding anti-oxidants at the time of production.

(2003/C 92 E/281) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2963/02

by Christa Klaß (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(15 October 2002)

Subject: Financial participation by the EU in BSE monitoring programmes

It is said that the EU’s planned financial contribution for Germany in 2002 (EUR 21 077 000) will not be
sufficient. Rhineland-Palatinate has become the first Land to cease to subsidise BSE tests on animals aged
over 30 months. Is the EU aware of any other countries which have ceased to provide subsidies or intend
to do so, or how could the Member State have ensured that the EU’s participation was sufficient for the
year in question?

In Germany, BSE tests are also carried out on animals which have died, and animals aged under 24
months are tested. Will the EU make more funds available to Germany in view of the fact that the
numbers of animals slaughtered have risen and are large, or is it possible for subsidies to be transferred
from Member States which are perhaps not exhausting the funds allocated to them?

Why does the EU intend to reduce its participation from EUR 15 to EUR 10 in 2003?

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