Several things have put IFRA in my mind the last few days: a blog post I saw recently reviewing the room spray Massoia by Geodesis, an article in Perfumer & Flavorist online magazine, and the new low-atranol oakmoss now available. I’ll touch on all three briefly.
Here’s a link to the article “Special Report: IFRA Workshop—Allergy Prevalence in Fragrance, November 4, 2008, Brussels, Belgium” from the P&F newsletter. I think it has some interesting tidbits.
A blog review of Massoia room spray review caught my eye recently because IFRA standards prohibit massoia bark from being used as a fragrance ingredient, and many companies try to comply with IFRA suggested guidelines. I don’t know if this room spray contains real massoia or if that is just a note achieved with synthetics, but if it is real that may be one reason this is a room spray and not meant for skin. Massoia can be a skin irritant to some people, though it does have a wonderful coconut scent and is very long lasting. There are other ways to get coconut notes without using massoia though, of course. Sometimes roomsprays contain ingredients that may be irritants for skin, so using them on clothing may be safer for your skin. Whether IFRA standards are reasonable or correct is a whole other issue, but it sounds like enough people reacted to massoia to make it be a flag to them. This skin irritant issue is good to keep in mind in general when dealing with room sprays.
Lastly, several sources are offering low-atranol versions of oakmoss because atranol and chloroatranol are thought to be the major potential allergens in moss. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. I don’t think we know enough to say how much this oakmoss will reduce allergic problems in practice because other potential allergens may be in moss too, but if atranol is the main problem maybe this new product will help. I’m looking into this issue more, and I’m getting a sample of the new low-atranol moss to see how it compares to regular oakmoss (it has to be better than the synthetic moss substitutes I’ve smelled!).