Perfumes' Un-Sexy Side

perfumeThe Campaign for Safe Cosmetics commissioned laboratory analyses (pdf) of 17 men's and women's name-brand perfumes to determine their chemical content, and found 38 secret chemicals present in all 17 products. The average product tested contained 14 chemicals not listed on the label, some of which are associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions. Many of the secret chemicals have never been safety-tested for use in personal care products. The secret ingredients include chemicals that tend to accumulate in human tissue, some that are linked to sperm damage in human studies, and a synthetic fragrance ingredient that concentrates in human fat tissue and breast milk. Why don't companies list all their fragrance ingredients on the package? The Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973 requires companies to disclose ingredients used in cosmetics on product labels, but explicitly exempts fragrances. The industry exploits this loophole to avoid disclosing ingredients -- even those that pose potential health risks or tend to build up in people's bodies. Worse, FDA lacks the authority to make manufacturers test cosmetics and fragrances for safety before they sell them consumers. As a result, people unknowingly expose themselves to chemicals that may increase their risk of health problems. The fragrances tested, for example, contained an average of 10 chemicals known to trigger asthma, wheezing, headaches and contact dermatitis, and allergic reactions to cosmetics and fragrances are a growing problem.


Wow, this is just scary! It's bad enough that we have to beware of so many foods, but it's easy to forget other things that we have day-to-day contact with like perfume. How are we supposed to protect ourselves if the FDA can't enforce manufacturers to accurately list all the ingredients in their products?

I can't believe this has not been revised since 1973. Sounds like they could potentially be held responsible for alot of health problems. I know there are alot of perfumes that cause allergic reactions to my husband and children just from the smell. I just wonder what effects it specifically has to hormones and pregnancy. This is really scary. I won't be paying $50 for my favorite perfume anymore. Not worth the risk.