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UPDATED: Fragrance Association Criticizes Silent Spring Institute Report

Posted: March 7, 2012

The International Fragrance Association North America has released a statement in response to a new study from the Silent Spring Institute titled Endocrine Disruptors and Asthma-Associated Chemicals in Consumer Products.

The statement reads:

“This study presents a clear example of biased, advocacy-based research,” says William Troy, PhD, Scientific Adviser to the International Fragrance Association North America. “It is a repackaging of older information and the methodology used defies basic principles and standards of scientific protocols and investigations. The advice to consumers based on study findings is simply wrong,” said Troy.

Troy highlights a few of the major flaws in the study:

  • The study repackages articles with questionable conclusions and product composition information. In fact, the information presented is four and five years old and, as the authors acknowledge, products change on a regular basis.
  • There is no scientific consensus on definitions of endocrine disruptors. The materials tested have not been confirmed to be endocrine disruptors nor asthmagens. The study lists diethyl phthalate (DEP) as a phthalate used in fragrances, but then notes “… DEP is not generally characterized as an endocrine active compound.”
  • Detection of ingredients in a product is not an indicator of risk. Materials were found in trace amounts, under 0.0001–0.01 percent levels, and have been assessed for safety by the companies producing the products and are considered safe for intended use.
  • It includes assumptions that regulators rely on product labels to develop exposure models. The fact is that researchers would rarely (if ever) rely on a product label to determine exposure scenarios and/or human or environmental health risk assessments.

“IFRA North America members, who design and manufacture scents for many of the products listed in the study, stand by the safety of fragrances used in consumer products,” said Jennifer Abril, president, IFRA North America. “The global fragrance industry has a superior safety track record and has always taken a responsible and pro-active approach to the safety of materials used, continuously analyzing and reviewing them for their effects on consumer health and the environment,” said Abril.

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