Tuesday, May 19, 2015Congresses

Perfumes: measuring staff exposure to substances

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Far from the glamour of finished products, the industrial perfume production process requires professionals to handle chemical substances. The Firmenich Group has been studying its workers exposure for three years as part of a multi-site assessment. Vincent Perret, Occupational Hygienist and Industrial Toxicologist at TOXpro, and Stéphane Golz, Vice-President QHS&E at Firmenich, shared their experience at the last Olfaction & Prospects Congress (Congrès Olfaction & Perspectives).

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Firmenich, a family group founded in 1895 and specialized in the development of food flavourings and perfumes, counts more than 6,000 employees in 63 countries.
In 2012, it launched a global programme for monitoring the exposure to chemical substances in the workplace, together with an industrial hygiene audit in all its production centres and laboratories around the world.
Today, over 1,000 Firmenich workers have already taken part in this programme with simple, but reliable means of assessment mainly based on self-assessment techniques.

The two faces of perfumes

Most users are not aware of it, but perfumes are not only charm and sensuality – perhaps even more so than other consumer goods, given their premium positioning and beauty image, always perfectly represented on glazed paper. Just like Janus, they have two faces, and Vincent Perret started by presenting their antagonisms.
On the one hand, finished products convey emotions and glamour. They are worn for pleasure and associated with the notion of fragrance, of a pleasant scent.
On the other hand, there is the industrial phase, which implies chemical substances are handled by specialized operators, sometimes in large quantity and very high concentration, and sometimes with a high toxicological risk.
Then he …

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