Fragrance Industry – The End of Animal Testing in Allergen Risk Assessment

On the 16th of December 2015, during the third annual review of the IDEA Project regarding risk assessment methodologies processes and criteria to identify fragrance allergens of concern, the Fragrance Industry reaffirmed its commitment to finding suitable alternatives to animal testing to assess the potency of skin sensitizers.

The Chairman of the International Fragrance Association’s (IFRA) Board – Mr. Michael Carlos – highlighted this significant step as one of the top priorities of the IDEA Project.

“Having the express support and expertise of the JRC (Joint Research Centre) and the scientific community will help in achieving this ambitious challenge enhancing the safety of consumers”, Carlos added.

This statement is of great importance to the Cosmetics Industry and its constant effort to place safe products on the EU Market.

IDEA Project

The IDEA (International Dialogue for the Evaluation of Allergens) Project was created in 2013 through a partnership between IFRAand the European Commission and its Scientific Committees, as a result of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) Opinion on fragrance allergens in cosmetic products (SCCS/1459/11).

The objective of this project is to reduce the knowledge and communication gap between the Fragrance Industry and other stakeholders, such as Academia, the EU Commission, dermatologists and downstream users in the Beauty Industry on fragrance allergens and, more specifically, on the methods to characterize them, assess them and diagnose them.

The Project consists of a series of workshops on which international scientists provide insight in order to reach a consensus and improve current methodologies. The conclusions are then followed up in industry or research projects.

At the end of each year, an Annual Review is organized by the European Commission to monitor and validate the progress recorded over the year, as well as to update priorities and strategies, provide clarifications and to promote further discussion among the stakeholders.

Next steps

The IDEA Project is an ongoing endeavour that is predicted to be concluded in 2020, the latest.

In its third year of existence, it has led to significant developments in Quantitative Risk Assessment of allergens but there is still the need for further discussion until the goal of an animal testing-free, global and transparent framework for assessing fragrance sensitizers is created.

The cosmetics industry and their designated Responsible Persons shall closely follow the developments of the International Fragrance Association and European Commission to ensure product regulatory compliance with safety regulations and the EU Cosmetics Regulation EC 1223/2009.

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