Fragrance material “does not pose a risk to the environment”

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: North america

According to Dr. Daniel T. Salvito, vice president at the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, macrocyclic fragrance materials widely used in cosmetic products do not pose a risk to the environment at current volumes of use.

Last month, the international scientific authority on fragrance ingredients for the industry and its consumers announced the publication of an ecological risk assessment using a chemicals categories approach.

The authority’s Environmental Science Program encompasses aquatic and terrestrial testing, biodegradation, bioaccumulation studies and risk assessments of priority fragrance materials.

Group Approach

A screening-level aquatic environmental risk with a ‘group approach’ is presented using data for 30 macrocyclic fragrance ingredients.

Conservative estimates of environmental exposure and ecotoxicological effects thresholds for compounds within two subgroups 15 macrocyclic ketones and 15 macrocyclic lactones/lactides were used to estimate the aquatic ecological risk potential for these subgroups.

The current volumes of use for the macrocyclic ketones in both Europe and North America, ranges from <0.01 (low kg quantities) to no greater than 50 metric tonnes in either region.

For macrocyclic lactones/lactides the volume of use range for both regions is <0.01 to no greater than 1000 metric tonnes in any one region.

Based on these regional tonnages, biodegradability of these two subgroups of materials, and minimal in stream dilution 3:1, the conservatively predicted exposure concentrations for macrocyclic ketones would range from <0.01 to 0.05 mg/L in Europe and from <0.01 to 0.03 mg/L in North America.

For macrocyclic lactones/ lactides, the concentration within the mixing zone would range from <0.01 to 0.7 mg/L in Europe and from <0.01 to 1.0 mg/L in North America.

The PNECs derived for the macrocyclic ketones is 0.22 mg/L and for macrocyclic lactones/lactides is 2.7 mg/L.


The results of this screening-level aquatic ecological risk assessment indicate that at their current tonnage macrocyclic fragrance materials in Europe and North America, pose a negligible risk to aquatic biota; with no PEC/PNEC ratio exceeding 1 for any material in any subgroup​”, according to the report.

All of RIFM’s scientific findings are evaluated by an independent Expert Panel; an international group of dermatologists, pathologists, toxicologists, reproduction, respiratory and environmental scientists.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Fragrance

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