The potential of benzyl salicylate, an important fragrance and flavour ingredient, to induce hypersensitivity or to elicit reactions to pre-existing hypersensitivity in the general population was evaluated by analysing patch-test data. Results obtained from fragrance and formulator companies for a total of 10,538 patch tests on benzyl salicylate alone, on a variety of household and personal care consumer products and on fragrance blends containing benzyl salicylate were analysed as part of this survey. No induced or elicited responses directly attributable to benzyl salicylate were observed in the 35 patch tests on benzyl salicylate alone, or in the 10,503 patch tests on consumer products or fragrance blends containing benzyl salicylate. The highest concentration of benzyl salicylate tested in the consumer-product tests was 2 X 10(-1)%, and benzyl salicylate alone was tested at 10% in ethanol. This study indicates that benzyl salicylate has a very low potential to induce hypersensitivity ('induced' reactions) or to elicit reactions presumably attributable to pre-existing sensitization ('elicited' reactions) and thus supports the safe use of benzyl salicylate in consumer products and fragrance blends.