The Role of Risk Aversion in
the Decline of the Perfumery Art
Tony Burfield, Cropwatch www.cropwatch.org
Click here to download the pdf of this post
World Perfumery Congress, Cannes
2nd June 2010.
(Anya's note: I've muddled thru the pdf and powerpoint of this speech Tony gave at the WPC and have to the best of my abilities, made a decent facsimile of the original so that the content may be archived on the internet. To read the original, please download the pdf, linked. PS We're very proud to have Tony as a member of the Natural Perfumers Guild, and I have collaborated with him previously in attempts to expose the bad science and bad politics of the EU, IFRA, et al.)
Cropwatch is a 6-7 year old non-financed independent watchdog for the aroma & natural products trades. It has waged campaigns against (amongst others):
• Over-exploitation of rare & threatened aromatic species (see Cropwatch website for A-Z data-base).
• Impending citrus oil FuroCoumarin (FC) legislation.
• The 26 allergens legislation (EU Dir 2003/15/EC). Has criticised:
• IFRA’s overly-bureaucratic QRA system (also much faulted by the SCCP in Opinion 1153/08).
Has dismissed as scientifically unsound:
• A number of SCCP Opinions & IFRA Standards (e.g. on Pinaceae, tagete oil, opoponax, melissa oil, coumarin, vanillin, oakmoss etc.).
Has forced improvements & corrections:
• To EU Cosmetics ingredients lists, policies etc.
Hand-cutting lavender in the UK, before anybody had heard of the term: ‘acute contact dermatitis’!
QC lab. in the days before the concept of
‘Health & Safety at Work’ – note lighted cigarettes dangling from lips of staff!
‘Health & Safety at Work’ – note lighted cigarettes dangling from lips of staff!
A bit of history…
• The failure to create a European Fragrance Commission with a brief to protect & maintain the cultural inheritance and art of European perfumery, has meant DG-Enterprise & Industry has been relatively free to create a framework of regulatory toxicology for the safety assessment & regulation of fragrances within the Cosmetics industry umbrella. The sale of cosmetics is primarily regulated under the Cosmetics Directive 76/788/EC, compiled between 1973-5 & adopted in 1976, & successively amended (to become supplanted by the new Cosmetics Regulation, to be in force by mid 2013). The approach taken mimicked that for the regulation of food
and pharmaceuticals i.e. is partly based on safety of ingredients and the adoption of lists (Lanuza undated). The outfall from this regulatory approach has been in the form of ingredient restrictions which have had a negative effect on “the art of the possible” in perfumery in recent years, thus damaging fragrance creativity & attainments.
• Toxicological testing requirements for cosmetics are not specified, although the SCC(NF)P / SCCS ‘expert’ committee offers opinions (usually with the help of carefully selected evidence, spoon-fed by trade-funded professional organisations like EFFA, before its demise) to DG-Ent’s
posed questions on the safety & allergenicity of individual cosmetic ingredients. The end result has been a continuing series of amendments to the EU Cosmetic Directive limiting the use of aroma ingredients on (often) scientifically contentious, disproportionate & over-precautionary grounds (see Cropwatch Files).
• Industry has been openly criticised for its timidity (Durodie 2004) in failing to oppose these regulatory impositions and the attendant bad science,
and the underlying culture of toxicological imperialism which drives it.
SME’s locked out of safety policy considerations.
• Although a few larger aroma concerns refuse to belong to the privately-funded IFRA organisation & its affiliates on principle, many SME’s who feel differently often cannot afford the membership fees to professional organisations such as RIFM, IFRA, Perfume Manufacturing Organisations etc. which are more suited to the
budgets of the aroma corporates & mega-corporates. These SME’s are effectively locked out of the ‘health & safety culture’.
• Yet substantial consumers of natural aromatic materials include the (virtually unregulated) aromatherapy profession, as well as candle- makers / soap-makers/ incense traders / pot pourri makers / hand- made cosmetics makers / general cleaning product makers / natural perfumers / organic perfume makers – all SME's.
• In the US, the Colorado State Safe Personal Products Act HB10-48, which included a proposed zero tolerance policy for CMR’s in cosmetics (with large fines for non-compliance), was defeated in Feb
2010 by a small number of SME’s and their advocates, who wrote to the Colorado Legislature complaining that the act would put them out of business (it is however being re-written for proposed re- introduction, and up to eleven other US States currently have similar bills in the offing). They complained that constantly scrutinising changing lists of ingredients put out by authoritative bodies, hiring legal advisors, and reformulating their products to keep up with these changes would force their products costs up, and they would become uncompetitive and collapse. The situation described above is, of course, similar to that for European SME’s.
EU Cosmetics Commission Policy.
• So far, the EU Cosmetics Commission has stuck to a code of practice where it refuses to measure or quantify individual ingredient risks, assess ingredient risk-benefit balance considerations (apart from for preservatives), assess cost-benefits of risk assessment (if any), clearly relate technical / biological end- point criteria to protection objectives, or consider adverse user effects data. Over-deployment of the Precautionary Principle can be counted amongst other short-comings.
• Whether this situation may change as a result of the ICCG now helping the EU Commission to explore a 2009 initiative by SCHER to promote harmonisation across the SCCS, SCHER and SCENIHR wrt reassessing risk assessment procedures, and the more effective communication of risk-related issues, remains to be
[Acronyms: ICCG Inter Committees Coordinating Group
SCHER Scientific Committee on Health & Environmental Risks
SCENIHR Scientific Committee on Emerging &
Newly Identified Health Risks].
So, its all going according to plan then…
• Ian White (1998): “A think tank has been set up consisting of a balanced representation of dermatologists, fragrance compound manufacturers and users (?) to address aspects of the problems and needs.” [Note the absence of independent scientists with the appropriate cross-disciplinary skills].
• According to documents dated 1998 seen by Cropwatch referring to the ‘think tank’ meetings, DG-Ent’s requirements were reported to include (amongst others) a total list of ingredients used in fragrances banded by volume, and a simplification of fragrance ingredient (chemical & botanical) descriptions.
• IFRA made their 2009 Fragrance Industry Ingredients List (3163 substances) public in Jan 2010, compiled as it is from the 2008 returns of (an unknown proportion of an unknown number of-) affiliated IFRA members. The list incidentally includes ingredients now classified as originating from threatened species, & ingredients that are “banned IFRA”. Ingredient volume information is now available from various sources. In Cropwatch’s opinion, the separate COSING/INCI list of cosmetic ingredients demonstrates the EU Commission’s approach to the simplification issue mentioned above, via a policy of botanical reductionism (see later slides) reflecting their lack of expertise in botany & botanical nomenclature (the latter fact actually admitted to Cropwatch by the EU Commissioner, Brussels, 2007), and additionally in economic botany.
SME’s in other areas.
• In other regulatory areas, economic discrimination against SME’s remains effectively unaddressed. The EU Commission (“The Rich Mans Club”) has long funded its H&S policies by using industry as a cash-cow, in order to pay for them. For example the high costs
of registering & supporting essential oils or natural aromatic extracts as biocides under the Biocidal Products Directive (BPD)
98/8/EC, drove the majority of natural biocide companies out of the business. As a result essential oils commonly used as insect repellents (=biocides) such as citronella, neem & tea tree oils, can no longer be used for this purpose under the BPD – exactly the outcome the synthetic biocides industry wanted.
• The Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD) EC Directive 2004/24/EC seeks to regulate traditional herbal products used in Ayurveda, Unani & Traditional Chinese Medicines, as well as in Western traditions. But from 2011, under the likely terms of full implementation of the Directive, products which were previously regulated as botanical food supplements will be regulated as if pharmaceuticals, involving high costs for registration and compliance (and thereby eliminating a large number of SME’s involved in the traditional herbal drugs trade). A legal challenge to the Directive from the Alliance for Natural Health International is underway (now with the support of Chinese & Indian medical group interests see ANH Press Release (2010)); UK Member State ratification at herbal practitioner level is thought unlikely as the result of a forthcoming human rights challenge.
Neem tree Zanzibar (extracts not supported as permitted EU biocide).
Traditional herb seller in Sikkim,
smiling (as not affected by THMPD!).
smiling (as not affected by THMPD!).
The FDA & the EWG.
• In the US, the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was the first Federal initiative to regulate cosmetics; since then the FDA and industry have cooperated to build a regulatory regime which has a lack of pre-market supervision and relies heavily on the self-regulation of industry (slightly paraphrased from Daum 2006).
• But the US cosmetics industry's self-regulatory approach and lack of ingredient safety substantiation has not been without its critics, such as the increasingly influential environmental organisational groups of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Skin Deep & The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC). According to the EWG website the aim is "to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment”. The EWG offer a detailed cosmetic ingredient database on their website which displays comprehensive references to information about research on specific cosmetic ingredients, but this information lacks objective
interpretation, overview or risk analysis of the data contained within any of the publications that they cite. This information source, combined with
aroma ingredient information from sites such as The Good Scents
Company, has spawned a new breed of speculative internet health
commentators, many of whom (it is pretty obvious) have no background in science or medicine.
• The CSC’s commissioned report “Not So Sexy - The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance” (CSC 2010) produced by Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Breast Cancer Fund, Women’s Voices for the Earth & Anne Steinemann (University of Washington), attempts to link fragrance chemicals with adverse health effects, and has been rebuffed by the Fragrance Manufacturing Association (FMA 2010) amongst others. Although full of scientific inaccuracy and unsubstantiated innuendo, the report will add pressure to an already over-regulated industry.
The Declining Perfumer’s Palette.
• As time progresses, the most commonly used fragrance ingredients in company formulations are increasingly associated with hazard & risk coding (as illustrated by Osbiston 2010) and therefore progressive limitations in their potential range of use.
• Vey (2009) maintained that if IFRA didn’t introduce their “voluntary” Standards for the fragrance trade, the EU Commission would introduce more draconian regulation.
[Cropwatch considers this proposition is pretty doubtful - as illustrated by the initial objection made by EU officials to putting Rosewood (Aniba rosaedora Ducke) into CITES Appendix II (CITES CoP 15 Qatar, March 2010) on the basis that such a policy ‘couldn’t be policed’. This
reveals an underlying situation where the Customs & Excise / H & S / Trading Standards staff of most European member states are untrained in taxonomic techniques
and forensic analysis. If this dearth of technical ability amongst enforcement officials is correct, it will be increasingly unable enforce complex EU cosmetic & general product regulations].
The ‘Zero-Risk Mindset.’
“(EU) Regulators apply - (or appear to have been pressurised into, by ‘invisible’ lobbyists) a disproportionate & excessive degree of regulation wrt aromatic ingredients, which appears to be an attempt to construct a clean, risk-free and largely synthetic-based safer-than-nature world of their own. That is not the world that most of us wish to inhabit, and Cropwatch believes that many will ignore any restrictions which deny us the use of those familiar natural materials which we associate with our lives, our heritage & our traditions.” – Tony Burfield (2010).
“Absolute reassurance and ‘no-risk’ policy is however contributing to the risk aversity of our society and triggers biased regulation, which will not deliver substantial environmental or health benefit.”
- Jostman (2007).
Withdrawal of Fragrance
• High toxicological testing costs (REACh etc.) means that many ingredients, are or will be, unable to be supported by producers.
• Rising raw material costs are reducing demand for the more costly aromatic ingredients.
• Ingredient hazard & risk coding is making many materials increasingly unattractive to employ in fragrance formulations.
• The situation of progressive ingredient unavailability
/ withdrawal (especially for naturals) is neither a
challenge nor an opportunity to the perfumer - it is
an unmitigated disaster - which should be
vehemently opposed by anyone who cares about the
art of perfumery.
Derelict vanilla plantation, Seychelles.--------------------------------------------------------
EU/IFRA policy will repeat similar scenes.
EU/IFRA policy will repeat similar scenes.
Old clove distillation works, Zanzibar before eugenol was classified as R36-43.Who cares about the restriction of fragrance ingredients, & anyway, how would we ever find out?
Subsequently became twice as derelict!
Subsequently became twice as derelict!
• - Well probably not from the trade press! Cropwatch’s view is that because of existing commercial publishing arrangements (e.g. between Allured Publishing Corp. & RIFM) many of the industry’s leading journals & magazines have failed to address burning issues affecting the fragrance industry because of commercial ties. Rather, the impetus has been left to bloggers & fragrance interest groups on the Internet. Anger & frustration amongst
brand-loyal customer to the reformulation of classic perfumes (e.g. Guerlain’s Mitsouko – see Turin 2007), about which the brand owners themselves are often in-denial, and the constraining
effects of the IFRA Standards on fragrance creativity felt by French perfumers, have been recently discussed by informed commentators.
• IFRA, and until recently, EFFA (whose fragrance brief has now been transferred to IFRA-Europe), are/were unlikely to petition the EU Commission about the removal of fragrance ingredient restrictions. This is because the raison d’être of the Commission is, after all, to continually pass legislation (or they become purposeless), and IFRA is engaged on its continual exercise in authoritative toxicological imperialism (which Cropwatch is confident will see practically all fragrance ingredients classified
as hazardous, restricted or banned within a short period).
The Declining Perfumer’s Status.
• Perfumers used to be highly motivated & outspoken artists, with senior company positions, including board membership.
• Many of today’s perfumers are of declining importance, being merely the obedient manipulators of fragrance legislation-software, tinkering with formulae to reduce labelling risks, substituting for expensive, withdrawn or
‘hazardous’ ingredients, and often with a brief to
minimise the use of natural materials. After some
possibly unguarded remarks made by aroma company
employees in the late nineties concerning musks and
their environmental fate, they are now unable to comment
to the media on any current H&S issue (a task taken over
by their trade organisation’s nominated ‘experts’), or to
publish any material without their employer’s express
• In short perfumers have become emasculated and their professional organisations undemocratic - in that they are not brave enough to openly sympathise or express the private views of their members, for fear of upsetting their masters.
Creative Limitations due to Hazard
Classifications of Ingredients.
• ‘The Overdose’ technique (excessive utilisation of a single synthetic ingredient) is under threat.
• The citrus FuroCoumarins (FC’s) situation - potentially a severe limitation in use of expressed citrus oils (bergamot, lemon etc).
• Limitation of allowable concentrations of weak rodent carcinogens (methyl eugenol, safrole, methyl chavicol) in natural aromatic ingredients.
• The labelling of sensitisers, alleged & otherwise.
• R50/53 substances allegedly ‘dangerous to the environment’.
• The fragrant mosses situation, the vanillin situation, the coumarin situation, the tea tree situation …
• Martin Gras as Senior Perfumer at Dragoco, wrote two important articles (Gras 1990; Gras 1991) on “The Overdose” – ingredients used in alcoholic perfumery in overdose proportions naming 16 ingredients in the first article & 16 in the second (with some repeats in the second).
• Gras (1990) commented: “Luckily in perfumery, there are no limits. Few substances are prohibited or restricted by RIFM or IFRA recommendations.” In
2010, the above comments made some 20 years
previously are no longer valid – IFRA standards or hazard / risk labelling codes limit the allowable
concentrations of many of the cited ingredients.
The Overdose II.
Here are a few examples from Martin Gras’s articles (1990 & 1991):
• Tonalid to 11% in Fahrenheit Dior 1968 & 30%) in Tide
Bleach (P&G 1989). Now Xn, N, R22-50/53.
• Galaxolide 29% Lux Beauty Shower Soap Now N, R50/53.
• Lyral (HMPCC) 10% in Red Door (Arden 1989) & 15% in Joop (1987). Now Xi, R43, 52/53. Restricted under 44th IFRA Amendment to 0.02% in QRA Category 1. The restrictions on this ingredient are having a huge effect on fragrance composition in the fine fragrance area.
• Lilial (BMHCA) 16% in Eternity for Women (Calvin Klein),
20% in Calyx (Prescriptive 1986). Now Repr. Carc. Cat. 3, Xn,
N, R22,38-43-51/53,62. Restricted under 43rd IFRA Amendment to 0.1% in QRA Category 1. Similarly the restrictions on this ingredient are having a huge effect on
fragrance composition for all types of applications from
household, to detergents to fine fragrance.
• Iso E Super 20% in Tresor (Lancôme 1990). Now N, R51/53.
Restricted under 43rd IFRA Amendment to 1.34% in QRA Category 1.
Citrus Oils: a Double Whammy
1.. The EC Cosmetics Commissioner wrote to Cropwatch (25.05.2009) stating that FC’s were to be banned in cosmetics except for their presence in natural essences. Limits would be fixed via the monitoring of seven marker FC’s: bergapten, bergamottin, byakangelicol, epoxybergamottin, isopimpinellin,
oxypeucedanin & xanthotoxin. These FC’s would be limited to
5ppm in leave-on products and 50ppm in rinse-off products. The
anomalous final line “Each of the seven FC’s should be present
at a level no more than 1ppm” invalidates the whole proposal,
but has never been withdrawn or corrected.
Drastically limiting FC's in fragranced products would result in the effective removal of indispensable natural (citrus) ingredients which Cropwatch has described as cultural vandalism against the perfumery art. Fragrance types such as Eau de Colognes, Eau Fraiche and citrus-based compositions would disappear, and chypre & fougère fragrance types which employ citrus ingredients (especially bergamot oil) in their characterising accords would be severely affected.
2. Under DPD/DSD (soon to be under CLP 1272/2008/EC), R50/53 environmental labelling (dead fish & tree symbols) has had a serious impact on usage of citrus oils & their terpenes, which have been traditionally employed in many types of perfumes for household & air care products for their diffusion, lift & fresh character.
Citrus Oils II.
• SCCP Opinion 0942/05 on FC’s in cosmetics was, in Cropwatch’s view, a rag-bag of unsubstantiated assumptions & prejudices, which failed to provide any direct evidence whatsoever of in vivo human photo-carcinogenicity from citrus FC's.
• The SCCP’s stated conclusions on photo- carcinogenicity in 0942/05 are at variance with the findings of other researchers such as Chouroulinkov et al. (1989), Dubertret et al. (1990) & the EMEA (1990).
• It remains the case that no single in vitro test currently exists which can predict the photo- carcinogenicity of FC’s. Conversely, photoclastigenocity has been associated with other very commonly used cosmetic materials such as zinc oxide (Dufour et al. 2006) and titanium dioxide (Theogaraj et al. 2007).
Citrus oils III.
• Most perfumers are unaware of the FC content of the citrus oil qualities that they use, and their employers do not have, and cannot afford, access to sophisticated analytical equipment to determine them; likewise for many small citrus oil producers. In 2007 the Cosmetics Commissioner, Sabine Lecrenier, stated in a mail to Cropwatch “Furthermore, if a restrictive measure would be envisaged, a public consultation, via our website, on economic impact would need to be carried out. that because of this threat of financial discrimination, the measure to limit FC’s would not go through.” We have seen no further mention of any public consultation.
• Cropwatch has suggested a labelling solution for the FC problem by advising users of FC-containing fragrances to cover up affected skin areas from actinic light for 12-
24 hrs. This is already standard practice in the aromatherapy profession, where 0.5 to 2.5% of (citrus) essential oils may be applied to the skin in a body massage, and seems to work satisfactorily.
Restrictions are severely limiting the deployment of natural aromatic ingredients containing alleged carcinogens, within fragrance formulations (information below abstracted from IFRA- IOFI Labelling Manual 2009). This policy is having a negative impact on the ability to create spice notes in fragrance formulae.
• Safrole T, R45-22-68. Arguably the weakest rodent carcinogen cited (see 'Safrole: Human Carcinogenicity Overstated?' in Cropwatch Files). IFRA limit for safrole + isosafrole + dihydrosafrole in consumer products is 0.01% (based on conclusions of Scientific Committee of Cosmetology of the EEC Sept. 1980; Communication to the EEC Commission ENV/521/79).
Duke (2002): The human carcinogenic potential of safrole, if not quite negligible at low doses, is considerably less than that of ethanol (Duke 2002).
Cropwatch (2009): The classification of safrole as a Category 2 human carcinogen and its association with risk phrases R22-45-68 seems disproportionate to the risks involved to humans, considering the history of human exposure via its occurrence in spices, foodstuffs, beverages, flavourings and fragrances.
Safrole - occurrence.
Safrole is present in: (N.B. this list is not exhaustive)
• Chinese Angelica (Angelica sinensis L.)
• Betel oil (Piper betle L.) to 6.45%
• Brown & yellow camphor oil (fractions of Cinnamomum camphora L.) Yellow oil to 20%; brown oil to 80%
• Cangerana oil (Cabralea cangerana Saldanha)
• Cinnamon leaf oil & bark oils (Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume) both to 2%
• Ho leaf oil (Cinnamomum camphora L. var. linaloolifera Fujita) to 0.88%
• Kuromoji oil (Lindera spp.) to 12%
• Mace oil (Myristica fragrans Houtt.) to 2%
• Mango ginger oil (Curcuma amada Roxb.) to 9.5%
• Nutmeg oils [E.I. & W.I.], butter & oleoresins (Myristica fragrans Houtt.) E.I, oil to 2%; W.I. oil to 0.3%
• Pepper oil, black (Piper nigrum L.) tr.
• Phoebe oil to 0.7%
• Piper auritum HBK oil to 90%
• Sassafras oils (Sassafras albidum (Nutt.) Nees to 95%.
• Sassafras oil Brazilian: Ocotea pretosia (Nees) Mez, to 92%.
• Star Anise oil (Illicium verum Hook f.) to 0.15%
• Ylang-ylang oils, absolutes (Cananga odorata (DC) Hook. f et Thoms - ssp. genuina) tr.
Safrole - dissenting opinion
• In the Eastern USA, many sassafras tea drinkers and traditional root beer makers regard the use
of natural safrole-containing sassafras flavouring
ingredients as their inherited cultural right, regarding the 1976 FDA ban as a purely political device (i.e. to control the movement of safrole which is a recreational drug precursor). There is no evidence of an increase in cancers from sassafras tea-drinking in this part of the US (see Cropwatch’s Safrole Bibliography in Cropwatch Files).
Allergens - alleged and otherwise.
• The SCCNFP (Opinions SCCNFP/0017/98 & 0329/00) identified
26 fragrance chemicals (16 of which occur in natural products)
associated with a mandatory labelling obligation for allergens
where the concentration in the final product (where added as
such, or present as part of a natural complex ingredient) is
<0.01% in products rinsed off the skin, or <0.001% in leave-on
products. These limitations were incorporated into Council
Directive 2003/15/EC, but the basis for the inclusion of these
chemicals as allergens has never been explained by the SCCP
• About 220 essential oils, absolutes & resinoid ingredients in the IFRA-IOFI Labelling Manual 2009, carry an R43 (sensitiser) classification. The desire of cosmetic manufacturers/fragrance customers to avoid excessive (hazard) product labelling has led to some decline in the overall usage of essential oils, absolutes & resinoids in cosmetics.
• But independent papers / peer-reviews (those by Schnuch, Floc’h, Vocanson, several by Hostynek & Maibach) have indicated that there is no robust clinical or experimental evidence to support many of these 26 ingredients as frequent allergens. Schnuch (2008) asked the EU to rethink their policy.
• The SCCS has recently been asked for an updated scientific opinion on the
mandatory labelling of 26 fragrance substances passed into Annex III of the
Cosmetics Directive by the 7th Amendment 2003/15/EC. This was described as a spin-off from the public consultation resulting from the draft form of SCCNFP Opinion SCCNFP/0017/98 and its 1999 conclusion, which divided allergens into two groups, 13 frequently reported (List A) well recognised and of most
concern, & 11 less frequently reported (List B). Two other raw material fragrance ingredients (oakmoss & treemoss) were also added, making the 26. Demyttenaere (2009) summarised the differences in classification according to SCCNFP Opinion (by reported frequency) against the findings of a study by Schnuch et al (2007), part of a multi-centre project by the IVDK, indicating five major classification contrasts for farnesol, citronellol, benzyl cinnamate, benzyl alcohol and benzyl salicylate.
• However the tenfold reduction of the concentration of the strong sensitiser isoeugenol in fragrances from 0.2% to 0.02% (1998) by the adherents of IFRA Standards had not reduced the incidence of patch test positivity after 2-3 years (Dillarstone effect); it actually increased in a 5 year study of 3636 subjects in
2001-2005 (White et al. 2007), which the authors blamed (but no actual evidence was cited) on isoeugenol substitution in fragrances, which hydrolyse to isoeugenol. The rise in patch test positivity is true also for other ingredients
including Peru balsam (but production volume halved at source since 1982 when IFRA introduced Standards for Peru balsam).
• The SCCS were asked:
Does the SCCS consider the list of allergens in Annex III are the ingredients that they should be aware of? Is there a threshold for safe use? Are there substances where processes (arising from metabolism, oxidation and hydrolysis) may lead to cross-reactivity and new allergens that the public should be aware of?
Allergens – what now?
Cropwatch’s view: No sign then, of an apology for one of sloppiest episodes in EU regulatory history, where the regulators appear to have been coerced by easily identifiable lobbyists into passing unnecessary and scientifically unsubstantiated legislation on allergens. It also appears (not for the first time) that individual members of the SCC(NF)P have acted as witness, judge & jury in this matter (see 5th European Framework Programme Fragrance Allergy Contract QLK4-CT-1999-01558). The whole fiasco has cost the trade millions of Euros in relabelling & reformulation costs & depressed essential oil sales for years. No sign either of any acknowledgement of the body of work by Schnuch, Hostynek & Maibach & others on this topic, who have cast doubt on the true allergenic status of many of the original 26 listed allergens. The
3rd question (previous slide) to the SCCS would presumably provide an entrée for the work of Hagwall et al. (2008), Hagwall
(2009) & others, on the possible metabolism of linalol in-product / in the dermis (critiqued in ‘The trouble with theories about the oxidation of essential oils’ in the Cropwatch Files). The Hagwall work is put forward in spite of contrary evidence of the justification of linalol as an allergen (Hostynek & Maibach 2008).
Conclusions: 1. An independent examination is required for the clinical relevance of fragrance patch testing.
2. As things stand, the SCCS would seem to be in acute danger of making the same mistakes on this subject all over again.
Other natural product allergens.
Whilst toxicologists & legislators argue over the regulation of weak allergens, and many of us privately consider whether they are really weak allergens at all, or just moderate irritants, the problem allergens in natural products remain largely unrecognised & unconsidered (certainly by RIFM). These include:
• Coniferyl benzoate (benzoin Siam; Peru balsam qualities)
• T-cadinol (Schinus molle; ylang-ylang oils)
• Sesquiterpene lactones (costus qualities; extracts from plants of the Compositae).
• Coniferyl alcohol etc.
Cropwatch has been working with some aroma product manufacturers to attempt to reduce levels of these powerful allergens in natural commodities to produce safer products. And whilst there are seemingly unlimited funds to help impose regulation because of existing hazardous substances contained within natural aromatics, there seems to be no available public money to look at processing methods which could help reduce these levels.
Substances allegedly ‘Dangerous for the Environment’.
• Pine, fir & spruce needles & other green leaves of plants & trees; roses, stocks, carnations and other flowers; the aerial parts of herbs, brassica farm crops like rapeseed etc., put millions of tons of volatiles into the atmosphere & soil per annum (but are not regulated). In spite of the shown biotoxicity of monoterpene hydrocarbons such as limonene, concentrations of limonene in biota are generally 250 to 20,000 times lower than the lowest EC50 value (Potter et al. 2005); the authors of the latter Swedish study concluding at the accumulation of limonene in the environment is of minor importance. The R50/53 ingredient labelling status for limonene is therefore unjustified. Looking at aquatic risk, Herman (2008) concluded “fragrance material & its use does not add up to an environmental issue”.
• By comparison to the volume tree & plant volatile emissions, relatively smaller amounts of chemicals from aroma industry discharges, ‘grey’ water from personal care & laundry products, household chemicals & aerosols etc. enter the environment from regulated commodities. Whilst microbiological transformation & degradation, photochemical reactions etc. will eventually metabolise the majority of these aromatics harmlessly away to carbon dioxide & water, a small number of problem substances (e.g. polycyclic musks like HHCB & AHTN found in human adipose tissue & breast milk) have caused, and continue to cause, concern (Ueno et al 2009). It is likely that these substances accumulate in adults from application of personal care products.
N.B. α-Pinene and limonene have both been found in human breast milk.
• A large number of essential oils & complex natural products are classified as R43 sensitising and/or R38 irritant, and
their use in fragrances has to be restricted to avoid
compulsory labelling. For example ingredients such as
cinnamon leaf & clove oils were used to impart spice notes
in pot pourris & candles, but R43 issues with cinnamic
aldehyde & eugenol contents etc. mean that their use is
• The classification of methyl eugenol as a rodent carcinogen has also affected the use of methyl eugenol-containing spice oils in fragrances, such as clove bud, pimento leaf & pimento berry. The relevance of rodent data in predicting human carcinogenicity from methyl eugenol has been questioned (Robison & Barr 2006).
• The classification of safrole as a rodent carcinogen has curtailed the use of cinnamon leaf & nutmeg oils.
• The net effect of these classifications has had a severe impact on the construction of natural spicy notes in traditional masculine perfumes, particularly for spicy accords where nutmeg/mace and clove qualities has played a key role (e.g. mace in Cacharel Pour Homme (Cacharel
Naturals: Are Supplies Running Out?
• Another factor limiting the perfumers palette is the increasing demand for natural aromatic ingredients, against a background of limited production capacity, increased internal market usage by producing countries with large populations, such as China & India, rising ingredient costs (including increased fuel and packaging costs), extremes of climate variability, catastrophic geophysical events and the general over-exploitation of natural resources.
• So, in spite of rosewood & guaiacwood being passed into CITES Appendix II (CITES CoP 15, March 2010), many other natural ingredients face serious over-exploitation. By the time threatened species are Red Listed by the IUCN or listed in a CITES Appendix, it is often too late to preserve their full genetic diversity. Current examples: Asian styrax, agarwood oil
(various spp.), sandalwood oil East Indian, sandalwood oil East
African (Osyris spp.), Cedrela odorata oil, copaiba balsam,
gurjun balsam, candeia plant spp. (used by the German
pharmaceutical industry as a source of α-bisabolol), costus
qualities, Parmelia (fragrant lichen) qualities, some
frankincense yielding spp. (e.g. Boswellia papyrifera),
chaulmoogra oil and many others (see Cropwatch A-Z data-
base on Threatened Aromatic Species).
Toxicity studies on individual natural ingredients
– welcome to the world of make-believe!
– welcome to the world of make-believe!
• Few toxicological studies on natural aromatic ingredients are available where the source botanical has been expertly identified, batch-
tracked, & has been sufficiently evaluated as 100% derived from the named botanical. This is true of many of RIFM’s toxicological
assessments of natural ingredients which utilised non-batch tracked industry-donated commercial materials of unknown purity & origin, & many do not have an associated and sufficiently detailed chemical
analysis profile to be useful. The majority of these studies can be
dismissed as non-scientifically robust.
• 40-60% of natural aromatic ingredients are adulterated (Cropwatch
2009), yet RIFM has yet to carry out a single study on how this
widespread practice might affect the toxicity of fragrance ingredients.
• A number of aromatic ingredients derive from-, or are co-gathered with-, more than one botanical species; virtually no formal studies exist which distinguish how toxicity is affected e.g. co-gathered Juniperus sabina berries with J. communis berries to make alcoholic extracts / distilled liquor for gin-making in Central Spain (Casares
1964); opoponax from “Commiphora Erythrea var. glabrascens Engler” (according to IFRA IL 815); in practice opoponax is sourced in markets and consists of a number of mixed Commiphora, and other species.
Reductionism in Botanical Classification.
IFRA name /
species cited (if any).
species cited (if any).
Armoise: Artemisia alba; A. vulgaris - according to IFRA-IOFI labelling manual 2009 CAS No
68991-20-8 (both species). [A. herba alba extract also listed separately].
INCI name / COSING “perfuming name”: species cited.
COSING: Armoise not listed as such, but lists Artemisia herba- alba herb oil CAS No: 84775-75-7; Artemisia herba-alba oil
INCI: Artemisia herba-alba herb oil leaf oil CAS No: 84775-75-7.
Actual species used.
Mainly Artemisia herba-alba Asso
A. mesatlantica Maire; A. atlantica Cross. Dur.; A. vulgaris L.
Cedarwood oil Chinese. No botanical origin cited in IFRA-IOFI labelling manual CAS No: 8000-27-
9; EINECS-CAS No: 85085-29-6.
Ho oil (shui). No botanical origin cited in IFRA-IOFI labelling manual
2009. CAS 8022-27-9; EINECS-CAS No: 91745-89-0.
Litsea cubeba oil
Opoponax qualities from Commiphora erythraea Engl. var. glabrescens Engl. – according to IFRA Standards Oct 14th 2009
COSING: Cupressus funebris wood oil from twigs of Cupressus funebris. CAS No: 85085-29-6.
COSING: Cinnamomum camphora linalooiferum wood, leaf and root oils all listed.
Litsea cubeba fruit oil from berries of Litsea cubeba. CAS No: 68855-
99-2; EINECS-CAS No: 90063-59-6
COSING: Commiphora erythrea Engler var. glabrescens Engler gum extract and oil CAS No 93686-
INCI: Opoponax oil is the volatile oil obtained from Commiphora erythrea or related species. CAS
8021-36-1; EINECS-CAS: 100084-
Mainly Cupressus funebris Endl. Also Juniperus chinesis,
Cinnamomum camphora L. var.
C. camphora Sieb var. glavescens
From several Litsea spp. Including Litsea cubeba (Lour) Pers., L. enosma & L. mollifolia Chun.
Commiphora erythrea Engl. var.
C, kataf (Forssk) Engl.
C. guidotti Chiov.
C. holtiziana Engl. holtiziana
C. pseudopali JB Gillet
Reductionism in Botanical Classification II.
IFRA name /
species cited (if any).
INCI name / COSING “perfuming name”: species cited.
Actual species used.
Santolina oil – botanical sp. not specified in IFRA Standard
Savin oil Juniperus phoenicea L. according to IFRA-IOFI Labelling Manual 2009. CAS No: 68916-94-9.
IFRA Standards: Savin oil should not be used as a fragrance ingredient if prepared from Junperus sabina L. Only oils prepared from Juniperus phoenicea L. should be used,
Linaloe wood oil
CAS 8006-86-8. Botanical sp. not specified in IFRA-IOFI Labelling Manual 2009.
INCI: Santolina Chamaecyparissus Extract is an extract of the Garden Cypress Santolina chamaecyparissus L. Asteraceae CAS No: 84861-580-
Savin oil not listed [Juniperus phoenicea L. wood oil rectified is listed].
Bursera Fagaroides wood oil is an essential oil obtained from wood
of the Linaloe, Bursera Fagaroides
syn. (?) B. glabrifilia, B. delpechiana Burseraceae CAS No:
Santolina chamaecyparissus L. S. chamaecyparissus ssp.incana S. chamaecyparissus ssp.
- All produce eo’s with different compositions
Savin oil comes from Juniperus sabina L.
Cropwatch maintains that Savin oil has never been associated with J. phoenicea, which is commonly known as Phoenician Juniper.
Bursera aeoxylon (Schneide) Engl. wood and/or berry oil; also from other Bursera spp. including:
B. delphechiana Poisson
B. glabrifolia HBK
B. simaruba L.
Tarred with the same brush.
Although no credit was given, the author has been
instrumental in providing evidence to convince the UK & EU
authorities that citronella oil should be placed in Annex I of the Directive 91/414/EEC (Plant Protection Products) arguing
that, in contrast to Citronella oil Sri Lanka (Cymbopogon nardus (L.) Rendle), Citronella oil Java-type (Cymbopogon
winterianus Jowitt) has a zero to 0.05% methyl eugenol
content, and is therefore suitable for use as a crop protection substance for placing on the market.
Similarly revised safety assessment outcomes potentially exist for β-asarone-free calamus oils (EU regulations for
karotypes of Acorus calamus L. & A. europaeum for food &
beverage use under review), santolina oils from various
Santolina chamaecyparissus L. subspecies, tagete qualities
from various Tagetes species, and many others.
IFRA’s 44th Amendment
IFRA appeared to have had trouble convincing some of its members about either the need, or the validity of, a number of the contained Standards in the 44th Amendment to its CoP.
• Vey (2010) publicly apologised for the mistaken banning of melissa oil.
Its is now unnecessarily restricted instead (see Robertet’s test data in
• Similar concerns about the restriction of estragole have led to some policy revisions. The restriction leaves a hole (requirement for ingredients with an anisic odour profile) not easily filled by other ingredients (e.g. canthoxal) which may have their own restrictions.
• An outcry against the severe restriction of the extremely weak allergen vanillin (an ingredient which could perhaps be added to any update of Martin Gras’s Overdose concept), led to the temporary suspension of the measure with a pledge of allotting more time in future for industry consultation to IFRA Standard revisions.
• The restriction of benzaldehyde was predictable from a survey of previous patch testing publications, but again, leaves a gap in the odour spectrum for (bitter cherry etc) which is difficult to fill.
• This comes on top of previous contentious restrictions for atranol & chloroatranol in oakmoss & treemoss qualities, and in other regulatory areas for coumarin, tea tree oil, peroxides in oils from the Pinaceae
etc. - and many we are still waiting for (especially in regard to FC’s in citrus oils).
• BPD Biocidal Products Directive (as amended) Directive 98/8/EC
• CLP Classification, Labelling & Packaging Regulation EC No. CLP 1272/2008
• CMR: substance which is Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Reprotoxic
• COSING is the European Commission database with information on cosmetic ingredients
• DG-Ent: Directorate General (Branch of European Commission responsible for Industry)
• DPD Dangerous Preparation Directive 1999/ 45/EC
• DSD Dangerous Substances Directive 67/548/EC
• EMEA European Medicines Evaluation Agency
• EWG Environmental Working Group
• FC: FuroCoumarin (syn. FuranoCoumarin)
• FDA Food & Drugs Authority (US)
• ICCG Inter Committees Coordinating Group
• IFRA International Fragrance Association
• INCI International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients
• QRA Quantitative Risk Assessment
• RIFM Research Institute for Fragrance Materials
• SCCNFP Scientific Committee on consumer Products and Non-Food Products
• SCCP Scientific Committee on consumer Products
• SCCS Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety
• SCHER Scientific Committee on Health & Environmental Risks
• SCENIHR Scientific Committee on Emerging & Newly Identified Health Risks
• SME Small to Medium-sized Enterprise
• THMPD Traditional Herbal Medicines Product Directive
• ANH Press Release (19th May 2010): ANH gains positive response following visit to China - see http://www.anh- europe.org/node/3019?utm_source=The+Alliance+for+Natural+Health&utm_campaign=ab9f7f4046-
• Casares R. (1964) “Juniperus sabina” Food Cosmet Toxicology 2, 680-681.
• CSC (2010) – see http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=644
• Chouroulinkov I., Lasne C. & Nguyen-Ba (1989) “Study with 5-MOP, bergamot & Bergasol in mouse skin carcinogenicity tests. In Psoralens: Past, Present & Future of Photochemoprotection & other biological activities. eds: T.B. Fitzpatrick, F. Forlot, M.A. Pathak & F. Urbach pp345-355. John Libby Eurotext. Paris.
• Daum C.M.L. (2006) “Self Regulation in the Cosmetics industry. A necessary reality or a cosmetic illusion?” Submitted paper for Havard Law Degree School 3rd year course work.
• Demyttenaere C.R. "Recent EU legislation on flavours & fragrances and its impact on essential oils" in: Baser
K.H.C. & Buchbauer G. eds Handbook of Essential Oils: Science, Technology, and Applications p 923.
• Dubertret L., Serraf-Tircazes D., Jeanmougin M., Morliere P., Averbeck D. & Young A.R. (1990)
• “Phototoxic properties of perfumes containing bergamot oil on human skin. Photoprotective effect of UVA and UVA
substances.” J. Photochem. Photobiol. B: Biology. 7, 251-259.
• Dufour E.K., Kumaravel T., Nohynek G.J., Kirkland D. & Toutain H. (2006) "Clastogenicity, photoclastogenicity or pseudo-photo-clastogenicity: Genotoxic effects of zinc oxide in the dark, in preirradiated or simultaneously irradiated Chinese hamster ovary cells." Mutat. Res. 607(2), 215-24.
• Durodie B. (2004) “The timid corporation – why business is terrified of taking risk.” Risk Analysis 24(1), 2004
• Floc’h F. (2002) “Coumarin in plants and fruits: implications in perfumery.” Perf. & Flav. 27 (Mar/Apr 2002), 32-36.
FMA (2010) “U.S. Fragrance Association Finds New Cosmetics Report Misleading –
Fragrance Safety Is No Secret” May 13th 2010 http://fmafragrance.org/sub_pages/CSC_release2.pdf
• Gras M. (1990) “The Overdose” Dragoco Report Nov/Dec 1990.
• Gras M. (1991) “The Overdose II” talk presented at WPC, May 14-17, Palma de Mallorrca.
• Hagvall L., Sköld M., Bråred-Christensson J., Börje A. & Karlberg A.T. (2008) "Lavender oil lacks natural protection against autoxidation, forming strong contact allergens on air exposure." Contact Dermatitis. 59(3), 143-50.
• Hagvall L. (2009) Formation of skin sensitizers from fragrance terpenes via oxidative activation routes: Chemical analysis, structure elucidation PhD Thesis University of Gothenberg.
• Herman S. (2008) “A deep breath.” – see www.stephen-herman.com/085.pdf
• Hostynek J. & Maibach H. (2008) “Allergic contact dermatitis to linalool” Perfumer & Flavourist 33, 52-56.
• Hostynek J.J. & Maibach H.I. (2003) "Is there evidence that anisyl alcohol causes allergic dermatitis?" Exog.
Dermatol. 2, 230-33.
• Hostynek J.J. & Maibach H.I. (2003) "Is there evidence that amylcinnamic aldehyde causes allergic dermatitis?"
Exog. Dermatol. 3, 35-46.
• Hostynek J.J. & Maibach H.I. (2003) "Is there evidence that linalool causes allergic dermatitis?" Exog. Dermatol. 2,
• Hostynek J.J., Maibach H.I. (2004) “Is there evidence that geraniol causes allergic contact dermatitis?” Exog.
Dermatol. 3(6), 318-331.
• Hostynek J.J., Maibach H.I. (2004) “Sensitisation potential of citronellol” Exog Dermatol 3(6), 307-312.
• Hostynek J.J., Maibach H.I. (2004) “Is there evidence that alpha-methyl-ionone causes allergic contact dermatitis?” Exog. Dermatol. 3(3), 121-143.
• Hostynek J.J., Maibach H.I. (2006) “Is there evidence that alpha-methyl-ionone causes allergic contact dermatitis?” Cutaneous & Ocular Toxicol. 25(4), 259-271
• Hostynek JJ., Maibach H.J. (2008) “Allergic contact dermatitis to linalool.” Perf & Flav 33, 52-56.
• Jostman T. (2007) “Precautionary principle for toxic chemicals – no alternative to safeguard social benefits.” Human & Experimental Toxicology 26, 847-849.
• Lanuza N.T. (undated) “Banned Substances in Cosmetic Regulation. The EU example.” see
• Osbiston A. (2010) address to the Safety Symposium, March 2010, British Perfumery Society, Cambridge
Belfrey Hotel, Cambridge (unpublished).
• Potter A., Andersson J., Sjöblom A., Junedahl E., Palm Cousins A., Brorström-Lunden (2005) “Results from the Swedish Screening Programme 2004. Part 3 Limonene.” IVL (Swedish Environmental Research Institute) Sept 2005.
• Robison S.H. & Barr D.B. (2006) “The use of biomonitoring data to evaluate methyl eugenol exposure.”
Envir Health Perspect 114(11), 1797-1801.
• Schnuch A., Uter W., Geier J., Lessmann H., Frosch P.J. (2007) “Sensitization to 26 fragrances to be labelled according to current European regulation. Results of the IVDK and review of the literature.” Contact Dermatitis 57(1),1-10.
• Storrs F.J. (2007) “Allergen of the year: fragrance.” Dermatitis 18(1),3-7
• Turin L. (2007) “Due Credit” NZZ Folio 04/07.
• Theogaraj E., Riley S., Hughes L., Maier M., Kirkland D. (2007) "An investigation of the photoclastogenic potential of ultrafine titanium dioxide particles." Mutat Res. 634(1-2), 205-19.
• Ueno D. et al. (2009) “Synthetic Musk Fragrances in Human Breast Milk and Adipose Tissue from Japan.” Interdisciplinary Studies on Environmental Chemistry - Environmental Research in Asia, Eds., Y. Obayashi, T. Isobe, A. Subramanian, S. Suzuki & S. Tanabe pp. 247–252.
• Vey M. (2009) address to the Society of Cosmetic Scientists, Grantham, UK, May 17-19 2009.
• Vey M. (2010) address to Safety Symposium, British Society of Perfumers, Cambridge Belfrey Hotel, Mar
• White I. (1988) “Fragrances – Future Aspects” in Fragrances, Beneficial and Adverse of Effects” ed. P.J.
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