According to the committee, allergy to fragrance ingredients affects 1 to 3 per cent of the European population.
In 1999, the Committee initially identified 26 fragrance allergens whereby measures were introduced in the Cosmetics Directive 76/768/EEC that require manufacturers to list these ingredients individually on the label of cosmetic products containing them, when they are present in the product above certain low concentrations.
Since then, much more information on fragrance allergens has become available, which prompted the European Commission to review the current knowledge and to check whether the list of fragrance allergens relevant for consumers needed to be modified and whether safe limits could be established for the most frequent allergens.
Thus the SCCS published its opinion, identifying 26 ingredients already outlined by the SCCNFP, an additional 30 individual chemicals and 26 natural extracts. Its list also features fragrance ingredients likely to cause allergies in humans, as identified on the basis of evidence from animal studies and analysis of chemical structures.
Furthermore, chemical processes which can transform seemingly innocuous fragrance chemicals into allergens were also scrutinized by the committee and the present state of knowledge is presented in the opinion.
With regard to fragrance allergens to cause a high number of allergy cases, the SCCS has derived a concentration limit expected to protect most patients from allergies to these ingredients, or from reacting to the cosmetics which contain them, it also considers that this concentration limit is appropriate to prevent non-allergic consumers from developing allergy to these fragrance ingredients.
The final opinion adopted in this plenary was prepared following stakeholder input during a public consultation with 112 contributions and a public hearing on the draft opinion.
For a full review of the opinion please click here.