The first phase of the study, which includes the outline and planning, has been published in an article in the peer reviewed journal, Dermatology and was conducted by the European Dermato-Epidemiology Network (EDEN).
It is claimed to be the first time that the true prevalence of contact allergy to fragrance has been assessed in the general population and on a global scale, having been initiated by RIFM and endorsed by an expert panel.
The aim of the study is to report on the methodology and reliability of the existing tools already adopted by EDEN and to build on the pilot phase of the study, which was carried out at the beginning of 2007.
European phase of study complete, US comes next
The pilot phase determined the feasibility of the global study, which was begun last year. To date the European phase of the study has now been completed and the plan is to start the North American phase in 2012.
Once all the data is compiled, RFIM says it plans to publish the findings as part of a complete global study to unveil an accurate and detailed picture of fragrance allergies worldwide.
The study relies on patch testing protocol, which is being used for the first time and has been standardised across multiple testing centres, providing what is termed a ‘gold standard’ for testing contact allergies to fragrances.
Collaboration has been key to implementing the study
The EDEN Fragrance Study will be conducted in collaboration with the European Society of Contact Dermatitus (ESCD) and co-ordinated by the Centro Studi GISED, Ospedali Riuniti di Bergamo.
On top of funding and support from the RIFM, additional funing will also come from The Netherlands Institue for Public Health and Environment, as well as the Foundation of Occupational and Environmental Dermatology.
Back in 2009 the Italian-based Centro Dematologia claimed that allergic reactions to fragrances in the cosmetics categories were falling thanks to improvements in formulation composition.
Scientists continue to raise doubts over fragrance allergies
Although allergy sufferers have continued to claim that inhalation of fragrances can trigger allergic symptoms, some scientific experts say that there has been no conclusive scientific evidence to back this up.
Concerns over fragrance allergies have been more predominant in North America, where campaigns to make public areas fragrance free have been running for a number of years.
Indeed, bans have been implemented in a number of institutions, including schools universities and hospitals across the United States.