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Fragrance Regulations Demystified

By: Carl Geffken
Posted: August 28, 2008

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California bound: When products are intended for sale in California, and certain other states, the manufacturer must assure that appropriate VOC limits are controlled for each product category as formulated. Periodic regulatory changes are inevitable, so it’s imperative to know and comply with the latest directives in force. Product surveys and product filings must be submitted to stay in compliance with these regulations, which may soon be a part of Canadian law as well.

Beyond REACH

The major fragrance supply houses work diligently to inform and provide technical support to the industry. Major challenges include support for fragrance allergen disclosure for their products; no easy task with the mix of natural ingredients and the variability of certain constituent ingredients based upon the material source and even growing conditions. With the inevitable advent of the European REACH program, as well as periodic challenges from non-governmental organizations, suppliers are routinely pressed to support their clients with more and better technical assistance and documentation.

Some of the required support comes from various well-respected technical associations and organizations. For example, the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) evaluates and distributes data on the safety assessment of fragrance materials used in virtually all fragranced product categories. It boasts the most comprehensive toxicology database of fragrance and flavor materials worldwide and provides safety evaluation literature and supporting information.

The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) was founded in 1973 and represents the collective interests of the worldwide fragrance industry. It publishes and provides specifications and standards for fragrance materials and develops test methodology for the industry to establish a code of practice. While both organizations have extensive support mechanisms, links on their Web sites will identify a broad network of industry resources.

Additionally, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review has evaluated numerous fragrance materials and has provided monographs to support its well-respected scientific conclusions. For centuries, fragrances have been revered and admired for their stature and the pleasure they bring. In the current culture, these same aromatic pleasures have created a multi-billion dollar industry with a degree of sophistication and obligatory control not easily recognized by the casual consumer.