Ask a RIFM Scientist

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Headshot of Kaushal Joshi

How does RIFM help ensure reproductive health?

Kaushal Joshi, PhD

Reproductive toxicity refers to the potential of an ingredient to affect sexual function in adults or cause developmental problems in the offspring. Due to the severe nature of reproductive toxicity, the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) maintains a strict protocol for analyzing all fragrance ingredients based on real-world exposure levels from consumer products.

RIFM does not perform animal testing as part of its human health safety assessments and instead relies on existing data, read-across, and the Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC). RIFM collaborates with scientists worldwide to refine and develop New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) to evaluate reproductive toxicity without animal testing.

Reproductive toxicity is one of seven areas (or endpoints) RIFM evaluates as part of its safety assessment program. Reproductive toxicity is made up of two subcategories: developmental toxicity and fertility.

Developmental toxicity is the potential for an ingredient to cause adverse effects during prenatal (before birth) development in fetuses or postnatal (after birth) development in infants and children. These effects could manifest as intellectual disabilities, congenital disabilities, or behavioral abnormalities.

Fertility refers to the potential for an ingredient to cause adverse effects on the reproductive organs (gonads) of males (testes) and females (ovaries), as well as mating behavior and conception. An adverse effect on these organs could cause male and female reproductive cycle abnormalities.

Senior Scientist Kaushal Joshi, PhD, leads RIFM’s Repeated Dose and Reproductive Toxicology research and safety assessment programs.