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IFRA amends fragrance safety standards

By Guy Montague-Jones , 01-Aug-2008

The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) has tightened restrictions on the controversial ingredient coumarin in its latest wave of changes to safety standards.

In the 43rd amendment to the IFRA Code of Practice, the trade association introduced 8 new standards and updated or changed the format of 52 others.

Matthias Vey, Scientific Director for IFRA, told CosmeticsDesign.com that coumarin was one of the materials to be affected by the eight new standards.

Vey said new scientific data on the skin sensitization properties of the chemical had persuaded IFRA to reduce the level of acceptable use.

However, he said alarming reports about the dangers of the popular lavender scented ingredient often fail to account for the difference between oral and topical applications.

New safety assessment system

To overcome this danger in its safety standards, IFRA introduced Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) in 2005.

The new system attempts to model use of fragrance materials in order to determine exposure limits for different consumer products more accurately.

Vey said QRA does not cover aggregate exposure to the same fragrance materials from different product sources but IFRA is currently working on it.

The main focus of the latest amendments is to incorporate the implications of QRA into the safety standards.

The eight new standards are based on QRA and 24 of the existing standards have been updated using the system. Making up the majority of the other amendments are a group of 26 pre-existing standards that have been separated out to make them more easily identifiable.

Extension of safety standards

IFRA standards are integrated into the legal framework in Europe under the EU Cosmetics Directive.

They also extend well beyond European boundaries with a membership that covers around 90 percent of fragrance houses worldwide.

IFRA recently surveyed 50 fragranced products in ten countries from the personal care and household goods industries and found none containing banned ingredients.