March 1, 2020   |   Reading time: 8 minutes

Understanding the IFRA 49th Amendment: What You Need to Know

Understanding the IFRA 49th Amendment: What You Need to Know
The fragrance industry is constantly evolving, with new regulations and standards being implemented to ensure consumer safety. One significant amendment that has captured the attention of fragrance professionals is the IFRA 49th Amendment. In this blog, we will delve into the details of this amendment and explore its key implications. Understanding the IFRA 49th Amendment is crucial for anyone involved in the fragrance industry, as it outlines vital changes that must be adhered to to maintain compliance and ensure the safety of fragrance products. So, let’s dive in and uncover what you need to know about the IFRA 49th Amendment.

Understanding the IFRA Standards

The IFRA Standards, established by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA), are a comprehensive set of guidelines and regulations that govern the use of fragrance ingredients in consumer products. Firstly, they ensure the safety of fragrances, protecting consumers from potential adverse effects on their health and well-being. Secondly, IFRA Standards provide a foundation for consistent quality and performance in fragrances, allowing manufacturers and perfumers to create products that meet high safety and efficacy standards. Moreover, these standards foster transparency and trust within the industry, as they serve as a globally recognised benchmark that demonstrates a commitment to safety, responsibility, and excellence. IFRA Standards are the backbone of the fragrance industry, promoting innovation and protecting consumers’ interests.

IFRA Standards impact the formulation of perfumes, colognes, and other scented products. They serve as a comprehensive blueprint, guiding perfumers and product developers in selecting and using fragrance ingredients that meet stringent safety and quality criteria. These standards dictate the maximum allowable concentrations of specific fragrance ingredients, ensuring they do not pose health risks to consumers. Perfumers must carefully adhere to these guidelines during the formulation process, striking a delicate balance between creativity and compliance. This meticulous approach guarantees that the scented products we adore smell delightful and are safe to wear or use, meeting the highest industry standards for consumer protection.

The purpose of the IFRA Amendments

Amendments to IFRA Standards are a vital necessity within the fragrance industry. They serve as a dynamic response to the ever-evolving landscape of scientific research and regulatory requirements. The fragrance industry is driven by innovation, with new ingredients and technologies constantly emerging. As our understanding of fragrance safety deepens and global regulations evolve, amendments become imperative to ensure that fragrances remain delightful and, more importantly, safe for consumers. Each amendment reflects the industry’s commitment to staying ahead of the curve, upholding the highest safety standards, and adapting to emerging challenges. In essence, these amendments are a testament to the industry’s dedication to ensuring that every fragrance product, from perfumes to household items, prioritises consumer well-being and continues to meet stringent quality and safety criteria.

Amendments to IFRA Standards directly result from two dynamic forces: scientific advancements and regulatory changes. As scientific research continues to uncover new insights into the safety of fragrance ingredients, amendments are made to incorporate this knowledge into the standards. These advancements help identify potential risks and allow for more precise regulations. Additionally, regulatory authorities worldwide periodically update their guidelines and requirements. IFRA, as a global body, must align its standards with these changing regulations to ensure international compliance and consistency. In essence, amendments reflect the industry’s unwavering commitment to staying at the forefront of scientific understanding and adapting to evolving regulatory landscapes, all in pursuing safer and higher-quality fragrances for consumers.

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An overview of the IFRA 49th Amendment

The 49th Amendment to the IFRA Standards, introduced on January 10, 2020, represents a substantial shift in the fragrance industry’s regulatory landscape. This amendment brought significant changes, marking the first major update since June 2015. The implementation dates of February 10, 2021, for new fragrance creations and February 10, 2022, for existing ones, have now passed into force. These dates signify a pivotal milestone, particularly for those involved in the home fragrance market.

The IFRA 49th Amendment encompasses several key components that warrant attention. It provides valuable guidance for applying IFRA Standards, ensuring a more streamlined and consistent approach across the industry. It also revisits the IFRA Standards, including Annex I and Annex II. These updates reflect a renewed emphasis on safety and quality within the fragrance industry.

Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of this amendment is the introduction of an innovative scientific approach known as Quantitative Risk Assessment for fragrance ingredients, or QRA2. This advanced methodology merges assessment for skin sensitisation, phototoxicity, and systemic toxicity into a unified framework, resulting in a fundamental shift in the IFRA categorisation system. The 49th Amendment has replaced the previous “IFRA Classes” terminology with a new categorisation system based on “IFRA Categories”.

This Amendment was more than just an update; it signified a progressive step forward in ensuring the safety and quality of fragrance products. It underscores the industry’s commitment to scientific rigour, regulatory compliance, and consumer well-being.

The scope of the IFRA 49th Amendment

The 49th Amendment to the IFRA Standards introduced substantial changes and restrictions, reflecting the industry’s dedication to safety and adherence to new methodologies. Here are the specific modifications and additions brought about by this amendment:

  1. Guidance on the use of IFRA Standards: This guidance provided comprehensive clarity on the interpretation of IFRA Standards and the methodology used to determine their upper concentration levels. It amalgamated key resources, including the introduction to the Standards, the IFRA-RIFM QRA information booklet, and the Standard Operating Procedure for implementing Amendments. The guidance also included a summary of the procedure for setting IFRA Standards, the risk assessment process for fragrance ingredients, and frequently asked questions about the application of the Standards.
  2. The IFRA Standards under the scope of the 49th Amendment: This category witnessed a substantial overhaul, comprising:
    • 25 New Restriction Standards
    • 88 Revised Restriction Standards
    • 12 Restriction Standards with a revised format
    • 3 Revised Specification Standards
    • 3 Specification Standards with a revised format
    • 10 Revised Prohibition Standards
    • 2 Revised Prohibition/Specification Standards
    • 2 Prohibition/Specification Standards with a revised format
    • 24 Prohibited Standards had the format updated to reflect toxicological endpoints of concern
    • 49 Standards that remained unchanged
    • 2 Standards that were deleted, with their content transferred to other standards
  3. Annex I of the IFRA Standards: This annexe, a non-exhaustive indicative list of typical natural presence for fragrance ingredients under the scope of an IFRA Standard, was expanded to include the natural contributions of ingredients with new IFRA Standards introduced in the 49th Amendment. Additionally, the information within this annexe from previous Amendments was reviewed and updated. Natural contributions of ingredients prohibited for use were also added for informational purposes.
  4. Annex II of the IFRA Standards: While the 49th Amendment brought significant changes to other areas, Annex II, containing information regarding potential restrictions on Schiff bases attributed to each Standard, remained unchanged.

This amendment introduced new methodologies, notably QRA2 and aggregate exposure models for systemic toxicity, which led to the creation of new IFRA Standard Categories. These changes highlighted that the impact of a Standard on a fragrance mixture could result not only from changes in upper concentration levels but also from shifts in product types moving between categories. For example, the Amendment impacted product categories like Baby wipes related to phototoxicity-driven Standards, which moved from a formerly unrestricted category to one with specified concentration limits. These alterations, while far-reaching, may affect a limited number of fragrance mixtures but ultimately reinforce the industry’s commitment to safety and precision.

The changes ushered in by the 49th Amendment to the IFRA Standards profoundly impacted fragrance formulations and the industry as a whole. These modifications, driven by cutting-edge methodologies like QRA2 and systemic toxicity assessments, prompted a comprehensive re-evaluation of fragrance ingredient safety. Perfumers and manufacturers faced the challenge of reformulating existing fragrances and adjusting to new upper concentration limits, all while ensuring that the essence and quality of their creations remained intact. Furthermore, introducing new IFRA Standard Categories and reshuffling product types between categories added a layer of complexity to the formulation process. These changes, although substantial, underscore the industry’s unwavering commitment to consumer safety and the pursuit of fragrances that not only captivate the senses but also meet the highest standards of safety and quality. It was a testament to the industry’s adaptability and dedication to staying at the forefront of fragrance innovation while prioritising the well-being of consumers.

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Revised Certificate of Conformity in light of the IFRA 49th Amendment

In the wake of the 49th Amendment’s substantial changes, the IFRA Certificate underwent significant revisions to align with the transformation of IFRA Classes into IFRA Categories. The Certificate of Conformity plays a pivotal role in declaring compliance with IFRA Standards, affirming that a specific fragrance mixture, up to a designated concentration, adheres to the latest IFRA Amendment’s requirements, ensuring its suitability for use in specific consumer products.

Traditionally, IFRA Classes were utilised to define the range of consumer products in which a fragrance mixture could be employed at the upper concentration level specified by the Certificate of Conformity. These Classes took into account various factors, including systemic toxicity and phototoxicity considerations. However, the advent of the 49th Amendment brought forth a significant shift in the form of IFRA Standard Categories, which now encompass skin sensitisation, systemic toxicity, and phototoxicity considerations. Consequently, the ‘Classes’ terminology has become obsolete as it aligns seamlessly with the IFRA Standard Categories, marking a crucial evolution in the certification process.

New product categorisation with the IFRA 49th Amendment

With the advent of the 49th Amendment, a significant transformation has occurred in how IFRA Standards are structured, and this change centres around the introduction of a new IFRA Product Categorisation. This shift represents a practical approach to regulating fragrance safety. Unlike the previous method, which focused on individual product classes, the new system groups consumer products based on common functional attributes, consumer habits, and practices. These factors include the area of application (head, face, axillae, etc.), as well as whether a product is intended for rinse-off or leave-on use. This approach has been implemented to more comprehensively account for aggregate consumer exposure, reflecting the industry’s commitment to ensuring the highest level of safety and regulatory compliance. It marks a significant departure from past categorisation methods but must align with evolving practices and the growing understanding of fragrance safety.

These categories in the 49th Amendment are summarised in the table below:

New product categorisation with the IFRA 49th Amendment

Industry response to the IFRA 49th Amendment

The fragrance industry responded to the 49th Amendment with a commitment to compliance and consumer safety. Perfumers and manufacturers embarked on a journey to adapt to the substantial changes introduced by this amendment. Challenges emerged as they navigated the complexities of revised concentration limits, the shift from IFRA Classes to IFRA Categories, and the incorporation of new methodologies like QRA2. Reformulating existing fragrances while maintaining their essence and quality posed a challenge, but it was undertaken with precision and dedication.

Additionally, introducing the new IFRA Product Categorisation required a thorough re-evaluation of product types and formulations. These adjustments were significant, but they underscored the industry’s unwavering commitment to the safety and well-being of consumers. The fragrance industry’s collective response showcased its adaptability, resilience, and determination to deliver fragrances that captivate the senses and adhere to the highest standards of safety and quality.


In conclusion, the 49th Amendment to the IFRA Standards has left a mark on the fragrance industry. It represents a pivotal moment of transformation, marked by significant changes, innovative methodologies, and a steadfast commitment to consumer safety. From the introduction of new concentration limits to the transition from IFRA Classes to IFRA Categories, this amendment underscores the industry’s dedication to staying at the forefront of fragrance innovation while prioritising the well-being of consumers. The world of fragrances is ever-evolving, and staying informed is key to success in this dynamic field.

Need help staying compliant with IFRA Standards?