When the original board members of the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) drafted the organization’s Bylaws in 1967, they ensured the objectivity of RIFM’s research, in part, by establishing the Expert Panel for Fragrance Safety, an independent academic panel of dermatologists, toxicologists, chemists and other scientists with no involvement in the fragrance industry.
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More than half a century later, the Expert Panel continues to review all of RIFM’s scientific work. The panel must approve any safety assessment or research paper before RIFM can submit it for peer-reviewed publication in a reputable scientific journal.
RIFM maintains a database with the most comprehensive collection of information on fragrance and flavor materials in the world––including more than 70,000 references and 135,000 human health and environmental studies.
This resource, along with the Expert Panel’s oversight and the rigorous peer-review process, ensure that RIFM’s science is the most up-to-date, reliable and unbiased in the world.
Information Exchange (INFOX) India 2020
In January 2020, RIFM held an information exchange, or INFOX, in New Delhi, India, where RIFM staff and members of the Expert Panel presented cutting-edge fragrance safety-related science to an audience of 100 fragrance industry professionals, academics and government oversight officials.
RIFM president James C. Romine, Ph.D., opened the proceedings with a brief welcome, followed by an introduction to the Expert Panel for Fragrance Safety by the Panel’s chair, Donald Belsito, M.D., of Columbia University Medical Center (United States).
A series of presentations by Expert Panel members and RIFM staff followed Belsito's introduction:
- Dermatology expert Magnus Bruze, M.D., Ph.D., of Lund University and Skåne University Hospital, Sweden, provided an overview of contact allergy to, and allergic contact dermatitis from, fragrances.
- Computational toxicology and chemistry expert Terry W. Schultz, Ph.D., of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in the United States, spoke to the processes of grouping discreet fragrance ingredients and botanical mixtures for evaluation and read-across purposes.
- Lung physiology expert Allison D. Fryer, Ph.D., of Oregon Health Science University in the USA, outlined the difficulties in measuring bronchoconstriction in vitro.
- RIFM vice president, Anne Marie Api, Ph.D., and safety assessment manager, Danielle Botelho, Ph.D., offered detailed looks at RIFM’s ground-breaking research and safety assessment programs.
Following these presentations, a roundtable discussion and Q&A were held, in which the Expert Panel members considered the intricacies and impacts of exposure, skin sensitization and animal alternative testing strategies and took questions from the audience.