What is in that smell?
“From Halle Berry’s signature scent, Armani to JLo’s Glow, the sleek perfume bottles promise love, joy, and celebrity appeal. But what they won’t tell you is what’s on the inside: complex mixtures of undisclosed chemicals linked to asthma, allergies, hormone disruption, and other health effects.
According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, an estimated 80% of products – everything from colognes and body sprays, to shampoos, deodorants, and even make-up – contain fragrance.
A research study “Not So Sexy: The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance”show Fourteen chemicals not listed on labels due to he loophole in federal law that allows companies to claim fragrances as trade secrets. American Eagle Seventy Seven contained 24 hidden chemicals, the highest number of any product in the study.
Ten sensitizing chemicals associated with allergic reactions such as asthma, wheezing, headaches and contact dermatitis. Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio contained 19 different sensitizing chemicals, more than any other product in the study.
Four hormone-disrupting chemicals linked to a range of health effects including sperm damage, thyroid disruption and cancer. Halle by Halle Berry, Quicksilver, and Glow by JLo each contained seven different chemicals with the potential to disrupt the hormone system.
The study further revealed the widespread use of chemicals that have not been assessed for safety by any publicly accountable agency, or by the cosmetics industry’s self-policing review panels. Of the 91 ingredients identified in the fragrances, only 19 have been reviewed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), and only 27 have been assessed by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) and the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM), which develop voluntary standards for chemicals used in fragrance.
The existing data and lack of comprehensive studies are cause for concern, because one thing we do know is that fragrance chemicals are inhaled or absorbed through the skin and many of them are ending up inside people’s bodies, including pregnant women and newborn infants.
A recent EWG study found synthetic musk chemicals Galaxolide and Tonalide in the umbilical cord blood of newborn infants. These musk chemicals were found in nearly every fragrance analyzed for the “Not So Sexy” study.
Twelve of the 17 products in the study also contained diethyl phthalate (DEP), a chemical linked to sperm damage and behavioral problems that has been found in the bodies of nearly all Americans tested.
According to the analysis, Fierce contains eight sensitizing chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions such as headaches, wheezing, asthma, and contact dermatitis – the types of effects commonly reported by people exposed to fragrances.
According to a peer-reviewed paper published in the March 2009 Journal of Environmental Health, more than 30% of the general population and up to 37% of people with asthma report these types of negative reactions from fragrance products.”
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