Ask a RIFM Scientist

Two people in lab coats having a discussion over a microscope and tablet
Headshot of Christen Sachse-Vasquez

Where does RIFM get its data?

Christen Sachse-Vasquez

The short answer is that the data that RIFM uses in its safety assessments come from various sources: scientific journals, government inventories and studies, RIFM member company study reports, and RIFM-sponsored study reports.

The thinking at RIFM has always been to collect, compile, and evaluate data on flavor and fragrance materials—though early on, everything was on paper and in filing cabinets organized by material. This is where the RIFM Database comes in.

RIFM created the Database in 1983 to help organize the information in an electronic format. However, the Database has come a long way from its humble beginnings. It now has upwards of 70,000 references that include more than 135,000 human health and environmental studies, making it the largest Database for fragrance materials in the world.

RIFM’s Database Team enters reference citation information, links studies to the appropriate materials, creates toxicological study summaries, and updates material records to conform with regulatory inventories and RIFM/Fragrance and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) statuses.

But data is just one facet. RIFM houses many additional resources in the Database, tools used by both RIFM science staff and member companies. They include the Toxicity Data Search Engine (TDSE) tool, which pulls data points directly from both the RIFM Database and external databases like those of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Other tools, such as the RIFM skin absorption model (SAM) or the Genotoxicity Data Visualization Tool (GDVT), contain specific data points from the RIFM Database but are stand-alone tools and not dynamically connected with the RIFM Database.

RIFM’s Director of Technical Information & Services, Christen Sachse-Vasquez, manages the RIFM Database operations and staff, in addition to IT functions and strategies.