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International Fragrance Association (IFRA)

International Fragrance Association (IFRA)

International Fragrance Association (IFRA)

 

The use of fragrances

Fragrance is used in all sorts of everyday products including cosmetics, personal care products, cleaning products, air fresheners and of course, fine fragrances. However fragrance only makes up about 2% of the product, but that 2% is vitally important to the product's identity and functionality. Find out more about how we use fragrances.

The International Fragrance Association (IFRA)

Founded in 1973, The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) represents the collective interests of its members and supports those of the finished fragrance products community. Membership to IFRA is open to associations of fragrance manufacturers from all countries and regions, which currently includes members from Asia and Pacific, Europe and the Americas.

IFRA has developed a Code of Practice (the Code) that provides recommendations for good operating practice and guidelines on fragrance ingredient safety assessment, and includes fragrance safety Standards which may limit or ban the usage of certain fragrance materials. The Code has been utilised worldwide since 1973 and is binding on all members.

IFRA Code of Practice

The Code of Practice applies to the manufacture and handling of all fragrance materials, for all types of applications and contains the full set of IFRA Standards. Abiding by the IFRA Code of Practice is a prerequisite for all fragrance supplier companies that are members of IFRA (either directly or through national associations). The majority of client companies (including producers of toiletries and household products) expect their fragrances to comply with IFRA Standards as set out in the Code.

Amendments to the Code, if required, are issued annually, based on new scientific developments. These contain either new usage restrictions or revisions of existing usage restrictions.

The IFRA Code of Practice is distributed worldwide and is in the hands of all member associations and their member companies, including governmental regulatory bodies and many other stakeholders.

IFRA Standards

The IFRA Standards form the basis for the globally accepted and recognized risk management system for the safe use of fragrance ingredients and are part of the IFRA Code of Practice. This is the self-regulating system of the industry, based on risk assessments carried out by an independent Expert Panel. 

The Expert Panel is made up of renowned independent experts from the fields such as dermatology, toxicology, pathology and environmental sciences. Their role is to evaluate the data on a fragrance to see if it supports the current use level, to make sure that there is no risk for the consumer. In cases where the safety assessment does not support the current use, the Panel instructs IFRA to issue a Standard either restricting or banning a material.

The Standards amount to 174 substances which have been either banned or restricted in their use in fragrance products. All members of IFRA are required, as a condition of membership, to observe the IFRA Code of Practice.

IFRA provides information on the exposure situation (usage concentration, variety of use, volume of use), chemical composition as well as the olfactory profile and olfactory potential (importance) of a fragrance ingredient to the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM), the scientific arm of IFRA. RIFM then prepares comprehensive dossiers on the materials including all available safety data and, if necessary, initiates and organizes any missing safety studies on the fragrance ingredient.

The Standards are established according to the following process:

  1. IFRA provides information on exposure such as (usage concentration, variety of use, volume of use), chemical composition as well as the olfactory profile and olfactory potential (importance) of a fragrance ingredient to RIFM.
  2. RIFM prepares a comprehensive dossier on the material including all available safety data and, if necessary, initiates and organizes any missing safety studies on the fragrance ingredient.
  3. The RIFM Panel of independent experts, evaluates the data to see if it supports the current use level, to make sure that there is no risk/danger for the consumer; if the safety assessment does not support the current use, the Panel instructs IFRA to issue a Standard*.
  4. IFRA prepares a Standard in accordance with the Panel's instructions and conclusions.
  5. The draft Standard is consulted with the IFRA membership and stakeholders for a period of about a month, to ensure that IFRA/RIFM are aware of all data on the material and to provide holders of additional data that might alter the outcome of the Panel's risk assessment with the opportunity to share those with IFRA/RIFM.
  6. If no additional information is received via the Consultation phase, the final Standard is published in a notification procedure as part of an “Amendment to the IFRA Code of Practice”. 

* The final decision on the content of the Standard is solely in the hands of the Expert Panel, not IFRA or RIFM.

IFRA List of Ingredients

IFRA has published an alphabetized list of fragrance ingredients used by IFRA affiliated members around the world. This list represents the industry’s palette of materials from which fragrances are formulated.

Find out more about IFRA, the work that they do and access the IFRA library of resources

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