Canadian Safety Standards
Health Canada's Cosmetics Program has the mandate to protect the health of Canadians by minimizing the risk associated with the use of cosmetics marketed in Canada. The Program defines and communicates requirements for the manufacture, labelling, distribution and sale of cosmetics, including perfumes and scented personal care products, and evaluates compliance. The basis for the regulatory authority for the Cosmetics Program comes from the Food and Drugs Act.
Fragrance Ingredient Safety and Regulation
Most manufacturers of fragrance oils used in scented products belong to national associations which establish a Code of Business Practice, coordinate the exchange of technical and safety information and focus on the quality of the materials used. In Canada, the national association is the Canadian Fragrance Materials Association (CFMA).
These national associations belong to the International Fragrance Association (IFRA), which was established 30 years ago to address international issues within the fragrance industry. IFRA has established the Industry Code of Practice and has compiled a list of restricted materials, liases with research scientists and dermatologists and works through its Scientific Committee and Regulatory Committee to address issues on behalf of the entire industry. For more information, click here to visit the IFRA Web site.
In addition, the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) is an independent organization that evaluates the safety of fragrance materials. RIFM has a dual role – one as a repository of safety data, and the other to conduct its safety testing program (health and environmental) for materials of common interest to the industry. In this regard, RIFM’s independent Expert Panel of scientists design safety studies, review data and ultimately decide any necessary restrictions on the use of fragrance ingredients, which are then sent to IFRA for communication to industry.
Fragrance manufacturers must substantiate the safety of their ingredients. Both the U.S. and the European Union require submission and review of safety data for every new chemical introduced into the market. Subsequently, customer companies require proof of U.S. and European registration.
In addition, most scented product manufacturers test the safety of their product containing fragrance:
Human skin irritation/allergy testing is performed routinely.
Extensive aerosol inhalation testing was carried out in the 1970’s and 1980’s for fragrances and scented products.
In addition, most scented product manufacturers and fragrance suppliers have well-developed mechanisms for tracking and responding to product complaints.