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First results out from IFEAT/RIFM project on safety of essential oils

  • First results out from IFEAT/RIFM project on safety of essential oils

    by Market Insider

    Monday, 12 Oct. 2015

    IFEAT is working with the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) on evaluation the safety of essential oils.  The programme focuses on testing the whole (complete) oil, in contract to most previous testing regimes which looked at individual constituents and isolates as sources of toxicity.  The programme intends to assess the potential carcinogenic, mutagenic and reproductive toxicity of around 200 naturals, chosen on the basis of their relative production volume, REACH compliance and other industry-relevant criteria.  IFEAT has provided the funding for the testing of the first 15 essential oils within the project.

    The assessment for each oil involves a battery of tests designed to determine whether the material can cause mutations or cellular toxicity in a living system.  If an essential oil produces a positive result in any test, it will be evaluated in greater detail.  The initial battery of tests are:
    • BlueScreenTM HC, conducted by Getronix Laboratories, is an assay composed of mammalian cells that measures the genotoxicity and cytotoxicity of a mixture or compound;
    • Bacterial Reverse Mutation Assay (OECD 471) – the Ames Test – that determines the incidence of mutations in a bacterial cell culture that has been exposed to an essential oil or other material; and
    • In vitro Micronucleus Assay (OECD 487) that evaluates the cytogenecity of the essential oil in in vitro human peripheral blood tissue.  The test provides information on whether a material interferes with cell reproduction during the process of cell division.

    The first 5 essential oils to be tested were:
    • Eucalyptus citriodora oil
    • Fir needle oil (Siberian)
    • Geranium oil (African)
    • Petitgrain oil (Paraguay)
    • Rose oil (Bulgarian)

    All the oils tested negative for evidence of genotoxicity in each of the 3 assays.
    Source: IFEAT

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