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Fragrance Allergy Study

Author: Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, Inc.

Published: 2011-05-26

Synopsis and Key Points:

Prevalence of contact allergy to fragrances in the general population is being measured on a global scale.

Main Digest

RIFM Sponsored Study on Fragrance Allergy Will Provide Needed Data for Global Public Health.

The first article from the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, Inc. (RIFM) sponsored, global study on the true prevalence of contact allergy to fragrances is now available from the RIFM web site at The article, Design and Feasibility of an International Study Assessing the Prevalence of Contact Allergy to Fragrances in the General Population: The European Dermato-Epidemiology Network Fragrance Study, Marta Rossi et al., was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Dermatology, in late 2010; 221:267-275. Printed copies are available by e-mailing

Sponsored by RIFM, the ground-breaking, global fragrance study is being conducted by the European Dermato-Epidemiology Network (EDEN). It is the first time that the true prevalence of contact allergy to fragrances in the general population is being measured on a global scale. RIFM initiated the study; The Expert Panel endorsed it and EDEN as a unique resource to conduct it. The EDEN Fragrance Study is conducted in collaboration with the European Society of Contact Dermatitis (ESCD) and coordinated by the Centro Studi GISED, Ospedali Riuniti di Bergamo. Though mainly supported by RIFM, additional support comes from The Netherlands Institute for Public Health and Environment, and the Foundation of Occupational and Environmental Dermatology. The ongoing study is reviewed by the Expert Panel.

The aim of this paper is to report on the methodology and reliability of instrumentation adopted by EDEN and to discuss the feasibility of the study based on the pilot phase that occurred from December 2006 to May 2007. The conclusion was that the global study is feasible and would provide useful and reliable data that would contribute to public health. The European phase of the global study has already been completed and the data is being analyzed. Plans are to start the North American phase in 2012.

This article also publishes the patch testing protocol used throughout the study. It is the first time that a patch testing protocol, application and reading, was standardized across multiple testing centers in a region. This protocol can now be used as a gold standard for testing contact allergy not only to fragrances but any sensitizer.

RIFM is the international scientific authority for the safe use of fragrance materials. RIFM generates, evaluates and distributes scientific data on the safety assessment of fragrance raw materials found in personal and household care products. Through extensive research, testing and constant monitoring of all scientific literature available, RIFM maintains its Database as the most comprehensive source worldwide of physical-chemical, toxicological and eco-toxicological data associated with known fragrance and flavor materials. All of RIFM's scientific findings are evaluated by an independent Expert Panel an international group of dermatologists, pathologists, toxicologists, respiratory, reproductive and environmental scientists. The Expert Panel evaluates the safety of fragrance ingredients under conditions of intended use and publishes the results in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The decisions of the Expert Panel regarding restrictions of use are also published as IFRA Standards, publicly available from the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) web site at For more information about RIFM and its activities, visit or e-mail

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