Washington, D.C.―Starting September 1 of this year, companies seeking to certify personal care products under the Natural Products Association’s (NPA) Natural Standard for Personal Care Products program must now be sure their products only contain all-natural fragrances. Unlike what is the case now, organizations must have documentation their fragrances’ composition; and they must be made with all-natural processes. Although companies with products that have been previously certified are not required to immediately make these changes, they should be prepared to do so once their recertification time comes.

The change eliminates common fragrance ingredients that are made with petrochemical solvents for extraction and all synthetic additives. NPA will, however, continue to allow some synthetic preservatives that are already allowed in the standard. In addition, NPA will publish an “allowed processes” appendix that includes extraction, expression and steam distillation “to encourage these manufacturing processes for fragrance mixtures.”Any company seeking certification must give the NPA a list of their product ingredients’ International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) names and Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) numbers.

NPA will not tack on a list of labeling requirements for already certified products, and only require such items to be labeled according to INCI procedures when “fragrance” is listed in the ingredient list. This means that firms should provide the INCI nomenclature for each ingredient; for longer ingredients lists, they must offer the company’s Web site, CAS number for ingredients, name the plant source or offer detailed information inside the package.

This may not be the last change to this standard that we will see. Says Cara Welch, Ph.D., scientific and regulatory affairs manager for the NPA, “This new requirement is the first step of many in the evolution of the standard, as the association continually moves towards strengthening the standard.”

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, August 2010 (published ahead of print on June 26, 2010)