An updated criteria for evaluating photoirritation￼
Recently, the invasive plant known as the giant hogweed has been making news. The sap of this plant is known to contain furanocoumarins, a group of chemicals that can cause burns on the skin in the presence of UV rays from sunlight, an example of photoirritation.
As part of its commitment to fragrance safety, the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) has maintained a robust program to assess the potential risk of ingredients used in fragrance products to induce similar reactions. All safety assessments published by RIFM include a risk assessment for photoirritation. Most also include an evaluation of photoallergenicity potential, a conditioned response by the immune system after repeated exposure.
Earlier this year, RIFM published its Criteria Document for photoirritation, providing an updated methodology on the photoirritation endpoint that avoids animal testing. The paper looked at case studies of 108 fragrance ingredients that absorb UV rays. Following the revised criteria, RIFM found that 21 materials had the potential for photoirritation, whereas 87 did not. RIFM then further evaluated 20 of the 21 materials with photoirritant potential in tests to establish NOELs, or “no observed effect levels” (concentrations at which the risk of phototoxicity is not observed). Of those 20, RIFM evaluated 14 in confirmatory tests in humans, demonstrating no photoirritant reactions at any of the tested levels.
According to Principal Scientist and lead author of the Criteria Document, Gretchen Ritacco, MS: “The tiered testing approach RIFM uses to evaluate fragrance materials for photoirritation avoids animal testing and leverages OECD guideline studies. It has proven effective and reliable to ensure that consumers can safely enjoy fragrance products.”
Register Now: This is where we’re going. RIFM’s 1st Annual Science Symposium. Virtual event, free to the general public. Wednesday, November 30, 2022, 8:00 am – noon EST. Type in “RIFM” if prompted for code.