The RIFM approach to evaluating Natural Complex Substances (NCS)
The Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, Inc. (RIFM) has evaluated safety data for fragrance materials for 55 years. The safety assessment of Natural Complex Substances (NCS) is similar to that of discrete fragrance materials; all of the same endpoints are evaluated. A series of decision trees, reflecting advances in risk assessment approaches of mixtures and toxicological methodologies, follows a tiered approach for each endpoint using a 4-step process with testing only as a last resort: 1) evaluate available data on NCS; 2) verify whether the Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC) can be applied; 3) verify whether the NCS risk assessment can be achieved on a component basis; and 4) determine whether data must be generated. Using in silico tools, RIFM examined NCS similarities based on the plant part, processing, and composition of materials across 81 plant families to address data gaps. Data generated from the Creme RIFM Aggregate Exposure Model for over 900 fragrance NCS demonstrate that dermal exposure is the primary route of human exposure for NCS fragrance uses. Over a third of materials are below the most conservative TTC limits. This process aims to provide a comprehensive Safety Assessment of NCS used as a fragrance ingredient.