IFRA and RIFM – Voluntary Measures
The International Fragrance Association (IFRA)
represents the interests of the fragrance industry
with the main purpose of promoting the safe use
of fragrances worldwide. 1 The Research Institute
for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) is the scientific
arm of IFRA.
The IFRA Code of Practice includes scientifically-based recommendations (usage standards) which are
intended to ensure the safe use of fragrance materials in products. The RIFM international Expert
Panel, which consists of dermatologists, pathologists,
toxicologists and environmental scientists, is completely independent of the fragrance industry, and
assesses the available scientific data on fragrance
ingredients. The Expert Panel evaluations are used
by IFRA to develop their Code of Practice Standards
on fragrance material usage.
The Code of Practice is adopted by IFRA member
companies worldwide, and affects the manufacture and handling of all fragrance materials, for
all types of applications, including cosmetics and
toiletry products. Although IFRA membership is
voluntary and the Code of Practice is not legally
binding, adherence is mandatory for IFRA members.
According to IFRA figures, its member companies
currently supply 90% of the global fragrance market.
Most cosmetic product manufacturers expect their
fragrances to comply with IFRA standards.
The IFRA Code of Practice is regularly amended
to include new or revised usage restrictions. The
most recent (48th) amendment was published in
2015 and it is expected that the 49th amendment
will be published in the second quarter of 2018.
Following the publication of an amendment, there
is usually a period of adaption before full compliance is required, to allow industry to implement
The EU Cosmetics Regulation – Legally
As membership to IFRA is not compulsory, not
all fragrance houses follow its recommendations.
Nevertheless, this does not imply that non-IFRA
compliant fragrances are unsafe for use in cosmetics.
Any cosmetic product placed in the EU market
must comply with the provisions of EU Regulation
1223/2009 (the Cosmetics Regulation), 2 and this
also includes ingredients used in fragrances. Any
fragrance house wishing to commercialize their
products in the EU must therefore comply with
the cosmetics regulation, regardless of their IFRA
affiliation status. In contrast to the IFRA Code
of Practice, the Cosmetics Regulation is legally
binding. Therefore, in the case of discrepancy
between the IFRA Code of Practice and the provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation, the latter must
be applied in the EU.
According to the Cosmetics Regulation, some
fragrance ingredients are banned. Entries 423 to
450 and 1133 to 1136 in Annex II of the Cosmetics
Regulation list these substances, which include
alanroot oil (Inula helenium L.), fig leaf absolute
(Ficus carica L.), and costus root oil (Saussurea lappa
Clarke) among others. All of these ingredients are
also prohibited under the IFRA Code of Practice.
Annex II of the Cosmetics Regulation also bans three
essential oils, of which two are also prohibited by the
IFRA Code of Practice (see T- 1).
In addition to the banned substances listed in
Annex II, Annex III of the Cosmetics Regulation
includes restrictions on the use of some fragrance
ingredients. According to the Regulation, 26 fragrance allergens (entries 45, 67 and 69 to 92a) must
be declared on a cosmetic product’s label ingredient list if these are present at concentrations above
0.001% (for leave-on products) or 0.01% (for products that are rinsed off). The aim of this requirement
is to ensure that sensitive (i.e. allergic) consumers
are informed of the presence of allergens in the cosmetic product. Nevertheless, the final concentration
of these fragrance allergens in the finished product
is not restricted by the Cosmetics Regulation. In
contrast, the IFRA Code of Practice establishes
concentration limits in the finished product for
these allergens, except for linalool and limonene, for
which only specification standards are stated (i.e.
aEntry 79 (HICC) is to be deleted, see section “Recent amendments to the
Species CAS Annex II entry IFRA Standards
Chenopodium ambrosioides L. 8006-99-3 76 Prohibited
Juniperus sabina L. 90046-04-1 294 N/A
Lippia citriodora Kunth. (Verbena) 8024-12-2 450 Prohibited
T- 1. Essential oils banned by the EU Cosmetics Regulation and comparison to IFRA Standards.