The Cropwatch Series



Cropwatch Critique of SCCP Opinion on Tea Tree Oil






May 2005




The SCCP Opinion on Tea Tree Oil (adopted by the EU Commission in Dec. 2004) found:

  • That undiluted tea tree oil as a commercial product is not safe.

  • That the safety dossier on tea tree oil is incomplete and gaps (e.g. genotoxic data etc.) need filling by the end of 2005

  • That the stability of tea tree oil in cosmetics is questionable.

  • That industry should develop an analytical testing method based on typical degradation products to ensure and control the stability of the material.


Cropwatch in reviewing the SCCP Opinion is producing a full critique of scientific validity of the findings (currently in preparation) and maintains:


1.   That the SCCP Opinion is deeply flawed as a result of missing out key scientific documents.

2.   The EU Commission's reliance on advisory 'expert' committees of academics to investigate safety topics should be ended, as they often have little hands-on experience of the commodities under investigation, the industry producing them or end-user commodity experience and largely rely on literature searches to formulate their opinions.

3.   No overall balance is struck in the SCCP Opinion between the beneficial outcomes of tea tree oil usage for large numbers of people against alleged adverse toxicological consequences to an extremely small minority of users.

4.   The over-influence of professional dermatologists and their (often flawed) findings based on poor scientific rigor must be counter-balanced in future before they result in further cases of maladministration by EU legislators, as, in sections of the EU's 7th Amendment to the Cosmetics Act.

5.   Expert safety advisory committees to the EU Commission have to be socially accountable for their opinions.  It is unacceptable to commercially de-stabilise perfectly valid natural product industries because these 'expert' committees arrive at demonstrably unsafe or unworldly conclusions.


Cropwatch considers that the SCCP Opinion on Tea Tree Oil - perhaps the most extensively researched essential oil - is riddled with political overtones which potentially pander to the interests of big pharmaceutical business.  There is no available EU funding for redress by affected workers and small industries against unfair or unsound EU legislation, especially in the natural aromatic products area.  Please support Cropwatch to help change things!


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The information supplied in this bulletin is believed to be accurate, but views, comments, criticisms, corrections or additional material can be forwarded to for consideration in future communiqués in the Cropwatch series.