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New approach to identifying allergens ‘helps fragrance makers speed time to market’

By Lucy Whitehouse + , 16-Dec-2016
Last updated on 16-Dec-2016 at 12:09 GMT2016-12-16T12:09:12Z

New approach to identifying allergens ‘helps fragrance makers speed time to market’

Identifying allergens is a challenge for any formulator of fragrance products, and one company reckons it’s found a novel way to speed up the process.

Waters, a company that develops and manufactures advanced analytical and material science technologies, claims its new Convergence Chromatography can cut the process down to under 10 minutes.

We catch up with the company’s senior manager for strategic program development, Chris Stumpf, to hear more on the challenges facing formulators, and the company’s new testing method.

A widespread problem

Identifying allergens is a top priority for fragrance makers, according to Stumpf, due to the widespread prevalence of fragrance allergies among consumers.

About one in twenty people is thought to be susceptible to a fragrance allergy. By listing the regulated allergens found in products, fragrance makers can help consumers identify the cause of an allergic reaction and make better informed choices about which fragrances they buy,” explains Stumpf.

“Identifying or even removing fragrance allergens in products is today one of the most important tasks for fragrance makers, as it can help them improve mass appeal and avoid costly recalls,” he asserts.

Key analytical challenges

According to Stumpf, avoiding potentially allergenic fragrance ingredients leaves fragrance makers and Cosmetics and Personal Care (CPC) chemists with some key analytical challenges.

CPC makers often use different analytical methods (e.g., GC being the most common) to identify known fragrance allergens listed by different countries or regional regulatory bodies,” he says.

“For instance, in EU Cosmetic Regulations (1223/2009), there are currently 26 fragrance ingredients, 24 volatile chemicals, and two natural extracts (oak moss and tree moss), that are considered more likely to cause reactions in susceptible people.”

EU brands are thus required to indicate these 26 fragrance ingredients in their products’ list of ingredients if the concentration exceeds 0.001% (10 mg/kg) in leave-on products, e.g. moisturizers, or 0.01% (100 mg/kg) in rinse-off products such as shampoos.

CPC makers: still using legacy testing methods

Currently, CPC manufacturers use various analytical methods to analyze cosmetic allergens such as Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), Headspace-GC-MS, GC-GC/MS, Liquid Chromatography-UV (LC-UV), and LC-MS, Stumpf explains, all of which have run times of approximately 45 minutes. For instance, a typical GC method may require two or three 45-minute sessions.

“These legacy analytical methods have been used for years, but the CPC industry has started to grow weary of the protracted run times,” the senior manager explains. “Some fragrance makers came to us and asked: ‘Is there a faster way to test for allergens?’”

Stumpf explains that following research, his team found that there is a faster separation methodology based on a technology called Convergence Chromatography (i.e. a method that uses carbon dioxide as a mobile phase) and provides separation characteristics between that of liquid chromatography and gas chromatography.

“To analyze volatile fragrance ingredients, the new Convergence Chromatography method is proven to be highly efficient,” he claims.

“In our investigation of fragrance allergens, we were able to consolidate the 26 allergens from the EU Cosmetics Regulations (1223/2009) onto a single UPC2 method (combined with MS detection) that runs in less than 10 minutes.”

The new separation technology’s analysis time is more than six times faster than existing HPLC and GC methods.

The method “looks like a game changer for the cosmetics and personal care industry,” says Stumpf.

“Today, fragrance makers can identify these fragrance allergens in perfume, cosmetics, and personal care products faster than they ever previously imagined. This breakthrough in separation technology means CPC makers can significantly speed up time to market. In this highly competitive industry, that can translate into a real competitive advantage.”

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