The bodies that control the safety of perfumery products in Europe are mainly two: the European Union and the IFRA (International Fragrance Association). The EU has regulated the use of 26 raw materials through Directive 76/768/ECC. The 26 allergenic raw materials can only be safely used in perfumes within the concentrations defined by the legislation.

In case of increased concentration, which could therefore trigger skin problems, the presence of the allergen must be, according to the law, highlighted on the packaging. For this reason, on some perfume boxes you can find the words “Ingredients: limonene, linalolo etc.”. It’s a way of indicating that those raw materials are used in a higher concentration than the one established by law, so that people with specific allergies are warned.

The IFRA/RIFM, on the other hand, is an international body created and financed by cosmetics, perfumes and essential multinationals (Quest, IFF, etc.). Companies have created IFRA with a dual purpose: to maintain documentation on cases of allergic reactions to fragrances, and to analyze raw materials to ensure that they do not cause allergic reactions and therefore do not harm the fragrances they market. IFRA conducts tests on both raw materials and finished perfumes: any effects of photosensitivity, skin toxicity and allergy are tested. The tests carried out are very strict and the parameters quite limiting, just to ensure that the financing companies can invest in their new products in an absolutely safe, using only raw materials that protect them from legal proceedings and bad publicity.

Safety in perfumes

Like all cosmetics, fragrances are regulated by specific rules that guarantee their safety. The perfume is in fact a cosmetic product as defined by Regulation (EC) no. 1223/2009 and is therefore subject to a whole series of obligations relating to the content, the packaging in which it is placed on the market, the documentation that must be available to the Authorities in the form of a Product Information File (PIF). Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 also provides for the Responsible Person to declare 26 ingredients of perfumed compositions in the list of ingredients if their concentration exceeds certain values.

Other guarantees on the safety of perfume derive from the IFRA (International Fragrance Association) code and standards, to which the adhering perfumers must comply: for example, the maximum permissible amount in a cosmetic product for a given component is set in the IFRA code).

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