NPA Tightens Natural Fragrances Standards

Beginning September 1, 2010, the Natural Products Association (NPA) will require all natural fragrances in finished natural products to receive certification in its Natural Standard for Personal Care Products program. This change effectively eliminates absolutes and concretes, common fragrance ingredients that require the use of petrochemical solvents for extraction, and purely synthetic additives. NPA will continue to allow some synthetic preservatives, limited to those already allowed in the standard, in order to maintain the importance of safe ingredients yet emphasize the use of natural preservatives when applicable. Additionally, NPA will publish an updated “allowed processes” appendix to include extraction, expression and steam distillation to encourage these manufacturing processes for fragrance mixtures. Companies will be required to submit a qualitative list to the NPA that includes the INCI name and CAS number of each component in the composition.

NPA does not want to add additional and arduous labeling requirements for certified products, and will not require anything more than following current INCI labeling procedures where “fragrance” is listed in the ingredient list. Further clarification of using an asterisk (*) on the term “fragrance” and placing a disclaimer underneath and outside the list stating the fragrance is natural is acceptable.

Companies should at least provide the INCI nomenclature (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) for each ingredient, although products with longer ingredient lists have other options available, like listing all components on the company’s website or on additional pages in the primary packaging. Additional options include listing Chemical Abstract (CAS) numbers for all ingredients, listing the plant sources and specifying “derived from,” or a combination of options.

To achieve NPA natural certification on personal care products, companies must demonstrate the use of natural fragrances by providing documentation stating the complete composition of each mixture. Companies with previously certified products should meet the requirement when their recertification comes due.

Cara Welch, Ph.D., the NPA’s scientific and regulatory affairs manager, said, “This new requirement is the first step of many in the evolution of the standard, as the association continually moves towards strengthening the standard.”

Natural Products Association

The Natural Products Association (NPA), founded in 1936, is the largest and oldest non-profit organization dedicated to the natural products industry, representing more than 10,000 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids. As the leading voice of the natural products industry, the NPA’s mission is to advocate for the rights of consumers to have access to products that will maintain and improve their health, and for the rights of retailers and suppliers to sell these products. Visit

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