IFRA promotes synthetic ingredients in fragrances

By Louise Prance

- Last updated on GMT

The IFRA has suggested that the many benefits of using synthetic
ingredients within fragrance production are equally as important as
that of natural ingredients - coinciding with the controversial
revision of its code of practice last year.

The association has used its annual 2007 winter update to encourage the use of both synthetic and natural materials, suggesting that synthetic ingredients are stable and less susceptible to price fluctuations within the market. The IFRA stated that natural ingredients are given to more variations, therefore exciting to 'play with'. However, synthetic ingredients are pronounced because their performance is more easily concerned. A spokesperson said, "The notes that come from synthetic sources either come from plants that are so fragile oils cannot be extracted from them, such as the lily of the valley. They also represent totally novel smells, such as the Aldehydes, without which Chanel 5 wouldn't have been created". ​The marine note Calone was also cited as being influential in the development of well-known fragrances such as Escape or L'Eau D'Issey Miake. The IFRA also showed awareness of the role that natural ingredients play within the fragrance industry, stating that "They are a complex blend of molecules that as such do not represent a single note but actually represent a blend of different smell, each with specific tonalities". ​"They are, in effect, a mini perfume unto themselves. They are richer and provide more complexity to a fragrance than single aroma chemicals such as the synthetics". ​ Lobby groups, such as Cropwatch, may however use this information as evidence and suggest that the IFRA is biased towards natural ingredients. However, Jean-Pierre Houri Director General of the IFRA told CosmeticsDesign-Europe​ that " the IFRA has no preference for synthetic vs. naturals. Our position on natural and synthetic ingredients is very clear. Both categories are indispensable to perfumer creation. All ingredients, natural or synthetic, must be evaluated for safety at the appropriate level of use, based on rigorous science. Natural ingredients cannot automatically be considered safe solely based on their sources."​ The IFRA code of practice was first introduced in 1973 to properly regulate and provide products that are safe for use by the consumer and for the environment and is said to reflect the current state of development regarding today's scientific and business environment. It was mooted for revision in October 2006 after the association called for the inclusion of new policies essential for the fragrance industry and to update it with the latest market knowledge. The adoption of the new policies such as the new Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) method for fragrance sensitizers, the Compliance Programme, and the potential skin effects of oral care products were an important part of the revised code of practice. However, lobby group Cropwatch claims that the revised code of practice discriminates against natural products being used in fragrances and favours synthetic ingredients, with the IFRA responding by stating that natural products must also be regulated heavily as they are not deemed safe based solely on their sources.

Related topics: Formulation & Science, Fragrance

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