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What’s wrong with the ‘fragrance’ in the ingredients list?

This is the ingredient, that usually is recommended to avoid when we talk about healthy or organic products. Why is that? What could possibly be wrong with the nice scent?

The term ‘fragrance‘, or parfume can hide up to 100 different chemicals, from about 3000 chemicals list. In ONE product. Think of how many products we use everyday.. That’s a number, isn’t it?

Almost 1/3 of fragrance ingredients are linked to various health problems, such as skin, eye irritations, allergies, hormone imbalance and increased risk of cancer. The problem is that manufacturers do not have to disclose an ingredient list of a fragrance – it is claimed as a business secret. This means that consumers are unable to avoid certain chemicals even if they desired to do so.

The only current solution to reducing exposure to chemicals of concern is to avoid fragranced products all together, and this is simply an unfair choice. It’s like knowing you have an allergy for food, but would’t know for what exactly, and the only option would be to stop eating..

You may wonder now – why is it still alloud to use unsafe ingredients, hide them in labels, why no institutions ban this? Well.. everybody knows, that smoking is harmful too, but no institution in a world has prohibited smoking either.. The safety of fragrance chemicals is not determined, monitored or safe-guarded by any governmental agency globally in any comprehensive fashion. Think of this – there are no restrictions in place for the use of the following:

  • Known carcinogens: styrene, pyridine, or benzophenone
  • Phthalates, of any kind
  • Synthetic musks, including Galaxolide or Tonalide.

Regulation is complicated to say at least, as it is kind of self-regulating system, lacking transparancy. Second, it is still claimed that hiding a composition of fragrance means keeping business secrets. But then again. It’s 2019, manufacturers can use technologies of reverse engineering, and analyze their and competitors products quite precisly. So business secret is not a real motive anymore.

It would be a great option if manufacturers would have to disclose a full ingredient list without hiding anything in between, then people would be able to choose, if they want to use a product or not. Especially, when fragrance comes close to the beginning of ingredient list. In a mean time, the only recommended way to avoid dangerous chemicals that might hide under word fragrance, is to skip this ingredient at all, whenever it is possible.

But hey.. It does not mean products have to be boring! There are PLENTY of natural aromas available, coming from essential oils for example. And it is so better when you think – you can have an orange scent derived from orange, not synthetic copy created from cancerogens.

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