Reproducing RIFM’s science-based work in India


In a lively opinion piece recently posted to Scientific American’s website on ‘Oumuamua, the interstellar object that hit our solar system in 2018, Harvard scientist Avi Loeb, PhD, reminds us that the reproduction of results is an indispensable step in the scientific process. As Dr. Loeb writes, “the assembly of reproducible results by instruments is essential for separating the subjective impressions of humans from objective data gathering.”

Fragrance safety is a global concern. The independent reproduction of safety assessment results from the same set of internationally accepted guidelines is a critical step toward an internationally accepted standard to support the safe use of fragrances, no matter where a consumer calls home.

Indian scientists reproduce RIFM’s findings

As part of an ongoing collaboration, the Government of India’s Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR), a wing of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), recently confirmed the science-based safety assessment process pioneered by the Research Institute of Fragrance Materials (RIFM).

RIFM’s work with CSIR-IITR began at INCITE 2018, a fragrance safety stakeholder event held in Lucknow, India. At that event, RIFM’s President, James C. Romine, PhD, emphasized the value of international confirmation. The event resulted in a Memorandum of Agreement between RIFM and CSIR-IITR and a RIFM-sponsored Information Exchange (RIFM INFOX) event in New Delhi in early 2020.

RIFM INFOX New Delhi brought RIFM science staff and members of the Expert Panel for Fragrance Safety—an international group of academics with no ties to the fragrance industry—to share their knowledge with Indian industry and science leaders. After the meeting, RIFM’s Senior Scientist of Reproductive Toxicology, Dr. Kaushal Joshi, met with a group of CSIR-IITR’s fragrance safety scientists for a more granular discussion of RIFM’s science-based methodologies.

In the months that followed, CSIR-IITR scientists took on an evaluation exercise based on RIFM’s Safety Assessment Criteria paper, which reflects advances in risk assessment approaches and new and classical toxicological methodologies. Using RIFM’s criteria, they analyzed and wrote up independent safety assessments for four ingredients to see how closely their conclusions would echo those of RIFM’s.

“CSIR-IITR’s analyses matched ours for the same ingredients,” Dr. Joshi said. “They recently published one of the analyses in their Annual Report for 2019-2020.”

Read more about RIFM’s ongoing collaboration with CSIR-IITR here.

Watch: Professor Alok Dhawan, former Director, CSIR-IITR, on collaborating with RIFM.