Good news from Europe on the tea-tree front


CHRISTOPHER Dean is back in Ballina with good news from Europe for the Australian tea-tree oil industry.

The major shareholder in TP Health, formerly Thursday Plantation, said he was optimistic that threats to ban tea-tree oil in Europe would not eventuate.

Europe would probably restrict the use of the traditional Aboriginal remedy in cosmetic products. However, officials were open to therapeutic use of the anti-bacterial product, provided extensive studies were conducted, he said.

Mr Dean flew to London and Brussels last week to lobby for the $40 million Northern Rivers tea-tree industry after the Euro- pean Union Commission expressed concerns that the oil could cause skin irritation.

Europe currently disguised its tea-tree use as cosmetic to avoid research requirements on therapeutic products, Mr Dean said.

"It is realistic that we should be marketing the product as therapeutic," he said.

The toxicology studies required by the commission for the therapeutic use of tea-tree oil will take up to three years and cost about $2 million.

TP Health Inc will approach government bodies and other companies to help foot the bill.

"Ultimately it will strengthen the industry because tea-tree will be one of the most researched oils in the world," Mr Dean said.

"In the long-term, it will increase sales."

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