International Fragrance Association

Written by Leanna Serras

The IFRA is the International Fragrance Association. The group met for the first time in Geneva in 1973 and formed the basic outline for their mission. They regulate fragrances used in all types of products that come into contact with human skin. This includes cologne and other beauty products, but also includes scented house products and children's toys.

Studies discovered that when multiple chemicals work together, they sometimes cause adverse reactions, especially in regards to the human body. The IFRA does research into different chemicals used in products like perfume every year and makes note of their findings. In the past they've banned the use of some chemicals and essential oils because of the reaction they caused to people.

The most common problem found is skin irritation. Users might notice that their skin turns red or that they have a slight rash. They may also experience eye irritation, which causes tears to form in their eyes. They also have problems breathing and may even experience irritation of their lungs. Ethanol and camphor are both on the list of chemicals regulated for these reasons.

Resources on these guidelines include:

The IFRA divides their findings into two categories. The first are chemicals that they advise against using in large quantities or at least recommends are only used in lesser amounts. These include ethanol and camphor. The other chemicals are the ones they ban completely. These chemicals and oils are often banned because of the problems they cause and the IFRA has banned 30 of these products. The FDA in the United States has banned an additional nine products for problems they cause in the human body.

The IFRA has banned the use of many essential oils because of their toxicity. Action cade, calamus oil, fig leaf absolute and horseradish oil are all banned because of the way they react with chemicals. They've also banned mustard oil, black mustard, stryax gum and sassafras oil. They also limit the use of certain oils such as bitter orange oil, cassia oil, Chinese cinnamon and cinnamon bark.

Consumers who are concerned about safety in relation to their personal products should always read the label carefully to check the ingredients. If there's any product they've had problems with in the past, avoiding that product is necessary. They can also avoid products that use parabens and amines. These chemicals have been shown in the past to cause skin irritation and breathing problems in a wide cross section of people.

The one thing consumers really need to focus on is the last section of the ingredients label. Any product that uses the words ?other ingredients?, ?small amount of other ingredients? or any other variation should automatically be avoided. Companies often use this label when they place a small amount of a regulated or limited chemical. There's no telling what those other ingredients might be, which is why experts recommend avoiding those products. Consumers concerned about the safety of their products should carefully follow these tips as well as the findings by the IFRA.