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Understanding Colophony: Implications for Product Safety

Colophony, also known as rosin, is a collection of resin acids that naturally occur in extractives from pine, spruce, and larch trees. Since pine oil is a common byproduct of the wood distillation process, colophony is often found extensively in pine oil. Allergic reactions to colophony are common in some individuals.


Small amounts may accompany the pulp and end up in various products, usually without causing any problems. However, in a Danish study of 2,000 patients with eczema, 3.7% were found to have an allergy due to skin contact with colophony. The greatest risk of developing colophony allergy is with prolonged skin contact with adhesive materials such as plasters, bandages, cosmetics, sanitary pads, and more. For those affected by contact allergy caused by colophony, there is a risk that it may persist for the rest of their lives.

In some markets, there are limits on the content of colophony in various products, especially within the hygiene and cosmetics industries. Due to these regulations, we have recently received an increased number of assignments and inquiries regarding the analysis of colophony content in pulp intended for use in hygiene products. This indicates the growing need for careful analysis and monitoring of colophony levels to ensure that products comply with safety standards and regulations.

At RISE, we have the expertise and resources to identify and measure the level of colophony in various products. Through meticulous analysis and measurements, we can ensure that products meet applicable safety standards and regulations while minimizing the risk of allergic reactions for customers and users.

Our analyses and measurements are performed with high precision and reliability, providing our clients with the information they need to make informed decisions about their products and production processes. By being able to quantify and monitor the level of colophony, companies can ensure that their products are safe and compliant with regulations, which is crucial for building and maintaining trust among customers and stakeholders.

We have developed and validated methods for analyzing colophony content in pulp using advanced gas chromatography. Through this technique, we can accurately quantify the presence of resin acids, which are the main components of colophony. Specifically, three of these resin acids—abietic acid, dehydroabietic acid, and 7-oxodehydroabietic acid—are often used as markers for colophony levels. Typically, a sample size of at least 20 grams of pulp is required to perform these analyses.

Examples of products where colophony may be present include cosmetics, plasters, adhesive tapes, paints, soap, rust preventatives, cutting fluids, and other chemical products. Colophony can be present in various forms, such as natural resin, tall oil resin, tall resin, resin oil, rosin, rosin oil, rosin gum, and rosin tall oil. It is important to note these different synonyms as they may appear in product ingredient lists or specifications. By being aware of these terms, we can ensure that we identify and measure colophony content accurately in the products we analyze.

Methods, Instruments and Expertise

We employ methods to analyze the level of colophony in mass by utilizing gas chromatography to analyze resin acids. Occasionally, we utilize three specific resin acids - abietic acid, dehydroabietic acid, and 7-oxodehydroabietic acid - as markers for colophony. To conduct this analysis, a minimum of 20 grams of mass is required.

RISE utilizes gas chromatography (GC) as a key technology in research and development. GC is an advanced analytical method that separates and quantifies various chemicals in sample mixtures. It enables the identification of impurities, quantification of substances, and characterization of complex mixtures.

GC is applied across various sectors such as the food industry for flavor analysis, pharmaceutical industry for quality control, environmental science for monitoring air and water pollution, and materials science for material composition analysis.


In addition to our expertise in analytical methods, RISE also possesses well-developed competency in handling and preparing samples, especially industrial fluids and materials. This ensures that our analyses are conducted with high precision and reliability, instilling confidence in our clients regarding the obtained results.


RISE offers a report that includes data in Excel format along with relevant images and diagrams. It is meticulously compiled using standard methods for the conducted analyses. The report also includes an assessment of measurement uncertainty to ensure the reliability of the presented results. All pertinent parameters relevant to the specific analysis are included to provide a comprehensive picture of the situation. Furthermore, detailed comments and explanations are included to provide additional insight and understanding of the presented data. 


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Understanding Colophony: Implications for Product Safety and Regulatory Compliance


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The delivery of results is scheduled based on our order backlog and the scope as well as the complexity of your assignment. We aim to ensure that your results are delivered on time, taking into account the specific requirements of your project. Thank you for your understanding and patience as we work to provide you with the best possible service.

We offer the possibility of express delivery for analysis results to our customers. With our express delivery service, you can receive your results even faster, enabling you to take action or make decisions without unnecessary delay. Please note that express delivery is available at an additional cost. Feel free to contact us for more information on pricing and availability for the express delivery option. We are here to assist you and provide your analysis results in a timely manner according to your preferences.

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Christina Wedin

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Christina Wedin


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