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Skin Sensitization Induction Potential From Daily Exposure to Fragrances in Personal Care Products

Drechsel, Derek A., PhD*; Towle, Kevin M., SM; Fung, Ernest S., PhD; Novick, Rachel M., PhD; Paustenbach, Dennis J., PhD§; Monnot, Andrew D., PhD

doi: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000412

Background Many chemicals used for fragrance purposes in a diversity of products have allergenic potential. Based on such concerns, industry groups developed concentration limits for use of fragrance chemicals in personal care and cosmetic products.

Objective The aim of this study was to use a quantitative risk assessment to evaluate the potential for skin sensitization induction resulting from daily exposure to fragrance chemicals present in personal care and cosmetic products.

Methods Product-specific dermal consumer exposure levels were calculated based on product use data in US adult females and benchmarked against acceptable exposure levels based on reported no expected sensitization induction levels to determine a margin of safety for each fragrance under evaluation.

Conclusions The results demonstrate an increased risk of skin sensitization induction for several leave-on products (lipstick, solid antiperspirant, eye shadow, face cream) for most of the evaluated fragrance chemicals, particularly under high-use exposure scenarios. In contrast, rinse-off products (shampoo, conditioner, facial cleanser) were not associated with risk of skin sensitization induction. Because the approach was based on maximum use limits for fragrance chemicals with skin sensitization concerns, the results suggest these limits may not be protective, particularly in the United States.

From the *Cardno ChemRisk, Boulder, CO;

Cardno ChemRisk, San Francisco, CA;

Cardno ChemRisk, Aliso Viejo, CA; and

§Cardno ChemRisk, Jackson, WY.

Address reprint requests to Derek A. Drechsel, PhD, 4940 Pearl East Circle, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80301. E-mail:

D.A.D., K.M.T., E.S.F., R.M.N., D.J.P., and A.D.M. are employed by Cardno ChemRisk, a consulting firm that provides scientific advice to the government, corporations, law firms, and various scientific/professional organizations. Cardno ChemRisk has been engaged by WEN by Chaz Dean, Inc, which produces personal care products, including the products examined in this study. This article was prepared and written exclusively by the authors without review or comment by any outside entity. It is possible that this work will be relied upon for litigation.

Funding for the research and preparation of this article was provided by WEN by Chaz Dean, Inc.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

© 2018 American Contact Dermatitis Society
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