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Fragrance Safety and Evaluation

By: Matthias Vey
Posted: September 5, 2008, from the September 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The QRA approach, introduced in 2005, is designed to restrict fragrance materials that have a potential to induce skin sensitization. This method identifies exposure limits for various consumer product types. Product types are then grouped into 11 product categories, according to similar safety assessment factors and exposure levels. This new approach is a much more refined procedure for evaluating sensitizing materials, and, therefore, provides more precise guidance on use levels of materials depending on the situation and the product in which they are used Amendments to the code, if required, are issued annually, based on new scientific developments. These contain either new usage restrictions or revisions of existing usage restrictions.

100% Compliance With the Code

In 2006, IFRA introduced a compliance program to ensure that the IFRA Standards in the Code of Practice were being followed. In 2008, 50 fragranced products were selected at random from a selection of 462 marketed products from 10 different countries in which IFRA has a member association or an affiliate and were analyzed for IFRA banned ingredients. The analysis was part of the second cycle of the IFRA Compliance Program, begun in May 2007 and completed in April 2008. This second cycle of testing has again shown no IFRA banned substances in any of the products (present above a level of 0.01%, which is a “no-concern level” and generally considered the limit of accurate quantification).

The products—which include fine fragrances, body care products and household products—were analyzed by an independent body, Institute Battelle of Switzerland.

Sound, Independent Science Adds to Consumer Reassurance

The science behind the IFRA Standards comes from the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM), which was formed in 1966 to analyze, evaluate and distribute scientific data, cooperate with official agencies, and encourage safety standards for the use of fragrance ingredients.

The RIFM’s mission is to:

  • Engage in research and evaluation of fragrance materials through an independent expert panel
  • Determine safety in use
  • Gather, analyze and publish scientific information
  • Distribute scientific data and safety assessment judgments to RIFM members, industry associations and other interested parties
  • Maintain an active dialogue with official international agencies