Common Fragrance Ingredients In Shampoos And Conditioners Are Frequent Causes Of Eczema
Sat, 28 Mar 2009 11:59 CDT
Considerably more people than previously believed are allergic to the most common fragrance ingredient used in shampoos, conditioners and soap. A thesis presented at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden found that over 5% of those who underwent patch testing were allergic to the air oxidized form of the fragrance ingredient linalool.
“I would suspect that about 2% of the complete population of Sweden are allergic to air oxidized linalool. That may not sound very much, but it is serious since linalool is so widely used as a fragrance ingredient. Linalool is found in 60-80 percent of the perfumed hygiene products, washing up liquids and household cleaning agents that can be bought in the nearest supermarket, and it can be difficult for people who are allergic to avoid these products”, says dermatologist Johanna Bråred Christensson, author of the thesis.
Around one person in five in Sweden has some form of contact allergy. Nickel is by far the most common substance that causes eczema, but the thesis shows that oxidized linalool occupies third place in the list, after nickel and cobalt.
In the study, oxidized linalool was added at patch testing for more than 3,000 patients who wanted to find out what was causing their eczema. Between 5% and 7% proved to be allergic to the oxidized form of the fragrance ingredient.
“Linalool is present in many products around us, and this is probably the reason that contact allergy to this material is so common. Some people can shower with shower cream that contains linalool but never develop contact allergy, but we know that the risk increases as the exposure to t! he substance increases”, says Johanna Bråred Christensson.
Linalool is a fragrance ingredient found naturally in lavender, mint, and other plants. Linalool breaks down when it comes into contact with oxygen, it becomes oxidized and can cause allergy. Manufacturers do include other substances in the products to delay this oxidation process, but allergenic substances can st! ill be formed from linalool when it is stored.
“One way of trying to minimize exposure to oxidized linalool is to avoid buying large packs of soap and shower cream, and always to replace the top after using a bottle”, says Johanna Bråred Christensson.!
EU legislation states that manufacturers must specify on the labels of hygiene products whether they contain linalool. Previous studies have shown that oxidized linalool may cause contact allergy in about 1% of patients with eczema.
Common Contact Allergens
Around 10-15% of all Swedes are allergic to nickel, and this is the ! most common form of contact allergy. Another substance that may be present in imitation jewellery is cobalt, to which around 2 3% of the population is allergic. Linalool occupies third place in the list after nickel and cobalt. It has been estimated that 2% of all Swedes are allergic to linalool. Other substances that can cause contact allergy include various perfumes and preservatives.
Hidden Chemicals in Perfume and Cologne
Environmental Working Group
Sat, 01 May 2010 22:52 CDT
A rose may be a rose. But that rose-like fragrance in your perfume may be something else entirely, concocted from any number of the fragrance industry’s 3,100 stock chemical ingredients, the blend of which is almost always kept hidden from the consumer.
Makers of popular perfumes, colognes and body sprays market their scents with terms like “floral,” “exotic,” or “musky,” but they don’t disclose that many scents are actually a complex cocktail of natural essences and synthetic chemicals – often petrochemicals. Laboratory tests commissioned by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and analyzed by Environmental Working Group revealed 38 secret chemicals in 17 name brand fragrance products, topped by American Eagle Seventy Seven with 24, Chanel Coco with 18, and Britney Spears Curious and Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio with 17.
The average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label. Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products.
Also in the ranks of undisclosed ingredients are chemicals with troubling hazardous properties or with a propensity to accumulate in human tissues. These include diethyl phthalate, a chemical found in 97 percent of Americans (Silva 2004) and linked to sperm damage in human epidemiological studies (Swan 2008), and musk ketone, a synthetic fragrance ingredient that concentrates in human fat tissue and breast milk (Hutter 2009; Reiner 2007).
This complex mix of clandestine compounds in popular colognes and perfumes makes it impossible for consumers to make informed decisions about the products they consider buying.
The federal government is equally uninformed. A review of government records shows that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not assessed the vast majority of these secret fragrance chemicals for safety when used in spray-on personal care products such as fragrances. Nor have most been evaluated by the safety review panel of the International Fragrance Association or any other publicly accountable institution.
Fragrance secrecy is legal due to a giant loophole in the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973, which requires companies to list cosmetics ingredients on the product labels but explicitly exempts fragrance. By taking advantage of this loophole, the cosmetics industry has kept the public in the dark about the ingredients in fragrance, even those that present potential health risks or build up in people’s bodies.
Ingredients not in a product’s hidden fragrance mixture must be listed on the label. As a result, manufacturers disclose some chemical constituents on ingredient lists but lump others together in the generic category of “fragrance.” In fact, “fragrances” are typically mixtures of many different secret chemicals, like those uncovered in this study. On average, the 17 name-brand fragrances tested in this study contained nearly equal numbers of secret and labeled ingredients, with 14 chemicals kept secret but found through testing, and 15 disclosed on labels.
Widespread exposure and a long-standing culture of secrecy within the fragrance industry continue to put countless people at risk of contact sensitization to fragrances with poorly tested and intentionally unlabeled ingredients (Schnuch 2007).
According to EWG analysis, the fragrance industry has published safety assessments for only 34% of the unlabeled ingredients (for details of the analysis, see Methods section). The unassessed chemicals range from food additives whose safety in perfumes has not been assessed to chemicals with limited public safety data such as synthetic musk fragrances, which accumulate in the human body and may be linked to hormone disruption.
Some chemicals that are disclosed on the labels of the products in this report also raise safety concerns. They include sunscreen and ultraviolet-protector chemicals associated with hormone disruption (Schlumpf 2004) and 24 chemical sensitizers that can trigger allergic reactions (European Commission Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products (EC) 1999).
To make matters worse, FDA lacks the authority to require manufacturers to test cosmetics for safety, including fragranced products, before they are sold to consumers. As a result, people using perfume, cologne, body spray and other scented cosmetics like lotion and aftershave are unknowingly exposed to chemicals that may increase their risk for certain health problems.
Product tests initiated by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and subsequent analysis, detailed in this report, reveal that widely recognized brand-name perfumes and colognes contain secret chemicals, sensitizers, potential hormone disruptors and chemicals not assessed for safety:
- Secret chemicals: Laboratory tests revealed 38 secret chemicals in 17 name-brand products, with an average of 14 secret chemicals per product. American Eagle Seventy Seven contained 24 secret chemicals, nearly twice the average found in other products tested.
- Multiple sensitizers: The products tested contained an average of 10 chemicals that are known to be sensitizers and can trigger allergic reactions such as asthma, wheezing, headaches and contact dermatitis. All of these were listed on product labels. Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio contained 19 different sensitizing chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions, more than any other product tested.
- Multiple hormone disruptors: A total of 12 different hormone-disrupting chemicals were found in the tested products, with an average of four in each product. Three products each contained seven different chemicals with the potential to disrupt the hormone system: Halle by Halle Berry, Quicksilver and Jennifer Lopez J. Lo Glow. In each product, six of these chemicals mimic the hormone estrogen, and the seventh is associated with thyroid effects. Some of these potential hormone disruptors were listed on labels; others were undisclosed and were uncovered in product testing.
- Widespread use of chemicals that have not been assessed for safety: A review of government records shows that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not assessed the vast majority of fragrance ingredients in personal care products for safety. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), an industry-funded and self policing body, has assessed only 19 of the 91 ingredients listed on labels or found in testing for the 17 products assessed in this study. The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) and the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM), which develop and set voluntary standards for chemicals in the “fragrance” component of products, have assessed only 27 of the 91 ingredients listed on labels or found in testing for the 17 products assessed in this study, based on a review of assessments published in the past 25 years.
Products were tested by Analytical Sciences, an independent laboratory in Petaluma, California. The lab found, in all, 40 chemicals in the tested fragrance products. Thirty-eight of these were secret, or unlabeled, for at least one of the products containing them, while the other two were listed on all relevant product labels. Ingredient labels disclosed the presence of another 51 chemical ingredients, giving a total of 91 chemical ingredients altogether in the tested products, including hidden and disclosed ingredients combined. Of the 17 products tested, 13 were purchased in the U.S. and four in Canada.
When sprayed or applied on the skin, many chemicals from perfumes, cosmetics and personal care products are inhaled. Others are absorbed through the skin. Either way, many of these chemicals can accumulate in the body. As a result, the bodies of most Americans are polluted with multiple cosmetics ingredients. This pollution begins in the womb and continues through life.
A recent EWG study found Galaxolide and Tonalide, two synthetic musks, in the cord blood of newborn babies (EWG 2009). Both musks contaminate people and the environment worldwide, have been associated with toxicity to the endocrine system (van der Burg 2008) and were identified in the majority of products tested for this study. Similarly, a pregnant woman’s use of some fragrances and other cosmetics frequently may expose her growing fetus to diethyl phthalate (DEP), a common perfume solvent linked to abnormal development of reproductive organs in baby boys and sperm damage in adult men (Washington Toxics Coalition 2009). New research also links prenatal exposure of DEP to clinically diagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder in children (Engel 2010). This analysis found DEP in 12 of 17 products tested, at levels ranging from 30 parts per million (ppm) to 32,000 ppm in Eternity for Women.
Numerous other products used daily, such as shampoos, lotions, bath products, cleaning sprays, air fresheners and laundry and dishwashing detergents, also contain strongly scented, volatile ingredients that are hidden behind the word “fragrance.” Some of these ingredients react with ozone in the indoor air, generating many potentially harmful secondary air pollutants such as formaldehyde and ultrafine particles (Nazaroff 2004).
People have the right to know which chemicals they are being exposed to. They have the right to expect the government to protect people, especially vulnerable populations, from hazardous chemicals. In addition to required safety assessments of ingredients in cosmetics, the laws must be changed to require the chemicals in fragrance to be fully disclosed and publicly accessible on ingredient labels.
As our test results show, short of sending your favorite perfume to a lab for testing, shoppers have no way of knowing exactly which of the 3,100 fragrance ingredients may be hiding in their beauty products or even in their child’s baby shampoo. This study focused on several categories of chemicals – specifically volatile compounds, semi-volatile compounds and synthetic musks. The laboratory analysis, while thorough, were not exhaustive, which means that additional chemicals of concern may also be present in the tested products.
Fragrance, perfume & cologne – what’s the difference?
Perfumes, colognes and body sprays are often called “fragrances.” But under U.S. law, the term fragrance is defined as a combination of chemicals that gives each perfume or cologne its distinct scent. Fragrance ingredients may be produced by chemical synthesis or derived from petroleum or natural raw materials. Companies that manufacture perfume or cologne purchase fragrance mixtures from fragrance houses (companies that specialize in developing fragrances) to develop their own proprietary blends. In addition to “scent” chemicals that we actually smell, perfumes and colognes also contain solvents, stabilizers, UV absorbers, preservatives and dyes. These additives are frequently, but not always, listed on product labels. In contrast, the chemical components in fragrance itself are protected as trade secrets and described on the label only as “fragrance.”
Everyone is impacted by fragrance.
The Campaign commissioned a laboratory analysis of men’s and women’s fragrances as well as scented products marketed to teens of both genders; all products tested contained a range of ingredients associated with health concerns, such as allergic sensitization, and potential effects on the endocrine system or reproductive toxicity.
The Daily Mail, UK
- Inhaling large doses of chemicals from deodorant aerosols can be fatal
- Canister fumes may cause skin reactions, allergies and heart problems
- Teenage boys are particularly in risk zone due to common over-use
Dangerous over-use: Inhaling chemicals from deodorant aerosols can cause skin reactions, aggravate allergies and may trigger fatal heart problems
Walk past a teenage boy and you’ll almost certainly be left with the lingering smell of spray deodorant – 50 per cent of children now use deodorant by the age of 11, according to one survey, with self-consciousness about body odour often spurring them to spray to excess.
For most teenage boys, only the market leader Lynx will do.
Thanks to its insistent marketing campaigns – including the slogan: ‘Get the look that gets the girl’ – the deodorant is the world’s best-selling male grooming product, sold in 60 countries and boasting eight million users in the UK alone.
The primary target for spray deodorants is thought to be 13 to 18-year-olds, with mums the main buyers, according to Marketing Magazine.
So powerful is its hold on the teen market that some teachers have gone on to online forums to complain about ‘the Lynx effect’, sharing anecdotes about having to teach through the fug of deodorant.
But some experts are concerned teenagers are over-using deodorant, warning that inhaling chemicals from the aerosols may cause allergic skin reactions, asthma and breathing difficulties.
In very rare cases they may even trigger fatal heart problems.
Maureen Jenkins, director of clinical services at Allergy UK, says: ‘Around one in three adults in the UK have some form of allergic disease – asthma, rhinitis or eczema – and their symptoms are easily aggravated by perfumed products and exacerbated by aerosol chemicals.
‘Even people without allergies can be sensitive to chemicals found in cleaning products or toiletries, experiencing skin reactions, breathing difficulties, nausea or headaches. The reactions are made worse when it is an aerosol as the fine mist is easily inhaled.’
Dr Peter Dingle, an environmental scientist and consultant toxicologist based in Perth, Australia, says: ‘The labels on deodorant aerosols instruct you not to use them in a confined space, but I think it’s safe to say most people in the UK aren’t going to go outside to spray on their deodorants.
‘They would do it in the bathroom, most likely with the door closed – and that’s a confined space.
‘In the middle of winter, you’re not even going to have a window open. If you watch a deodorant advert, the young man usually sprays himself all over his body, which is exactly what the can tells you you’re not supposed to do. Self-image and smelling right is all important for young men and there’s a lot of peer pressure to use these products.’
This is something the Capewell family will be reminded of for the rest of their lives. Jonathan Capewell was just 16 when he died of a heart attack in the bedroom of his home in Oldham, Greater Manchester. His 17-year-old sister, Natalie, raised the alarm after finding her brother lying lifeless on his bedroom floor.
‘When we arrived at the hospital, they were still trying to revive him,’ recalls his father Keith, 58. ‘But about ten minutes later they said he was gone.
‘We were shocked. There had been no warning. They asked if he had a heart condition but there was nothing like that. He was a perfectly normal, healthy boy.’
A post-mortem examination showed Jonathan had ten times the lethal amount of butane and propane in his blood. The gases are used as aerosol propellants and it seemed they had built up in his body over many months.
At first, it was feared Jonathan had been engaging in solvent abuse – inhaling aerosol solvents to obtain a ‘high’ – but it seemed out of character to all who knew him. Keith says: ‘The coroner’s investigator checked the aerosols we had in the house but found none of the signs of solvent abuse. He came to the conclusion that Jonathan wasn’t abusing.’ The investigation turned to Jonathan’s use of deodorants.
‘He was 16 and his body was changing,’ says Keith. ‘He was starting to sweat more and worry about how he smelled. It wasn’t unusual for him to have two or three showers a day.
Fatal use: Daniel Hurley died in his home in Sandiacre, Nottingham, aged 12 when he collapsed after using spray deodorant which caused a cardiac arrhythmia
‘Afterwards he would spray deodorant all over his body, even in his hair, and the bathroom was the smallest room in the house. He was a bit obsessive and would have up to six different types to choose from, including Lynx. Sometimes we could smell the deodorant downstairs and we’d joke: “Are you spraying that up there or eating it?” ’
The coroner, Barrie Williams, ruled that Jonathan’s death was accidental, saying: ‘The 16-year-old was a normal, healthy teenager who was simply overcome by excessive use of antiperspirants.
‘There was an exceptionally high use of deodorant for personal hygiene. It was used in a fairly confined space against the advice of the canisters.’
But how could accidentally inhaling aerosol chemicals cause death?
Jonathan Clague, a consultant heart specialist at the Royal Brompton Hospital, says: ‘The main cause of death is usually suffocation, known as hypoxia. If oxygen is not being breathed in and something else is inhaled, such as chemicals, then suffocation occurs and the heart stops.’
After the inquest in 1998, Keith and Louise struggled to come to terms with Jonathan’s death.
‘My daughter blamed herself because she was in the house when it happened, even though there was nothing she could have done,’ says Keith.
‘I went back to work as a warehouse manager after a couple of weeks but every time the phone rang my hands started shaking and I’d be transported back to that day, expecting more bad news. I had to give it up.’ It was two years before he could work again.
He adds: ‘It’s been very hard to accept – Jonathan was only 16 and hadn’t even started out in life.’
Daniel Hurley was just 12 when he collapsed after using spray deodorant in the bathroom of his home in Sandiacre, Nottingham.
He died in hospital five days later, in January 2008. The coroner told his parents Lynsey and Robert that his death had been caused by a ‘cardiac arrhythmia, exacerbated by exposure to solvents’.
It seemed Daniel had an unknown pre-existing heart arrhythmia – a heart rhythm problem – and the solvents in the Lynx aerosol he had been using had triggered a fatal collapse.
There are several warnings on the back of Lynx canisters. Users are advised to ‘use in short bursts in well ventilated spaces’, to ‘avoid prolonged spraying’ and ‘keep out of reach of children’.
The British Aerosol Manufacturers Association (BAMA) says propellants in household aerosol products have been used safely for 40 years and that 600 million aerosols are used each year in the UK.
The association carried out its own research after Jonathan Capewell’s death, but says it was ‘unable to reproduce the conditions which could lead to harmful or fatal effects from excessive spraying of aerosol products in a confined space’.
Dr Dingle says: ‘It’s not enough for the authorities to say, “It’s OK, there’s a warning on the back of the can.” If two children have died by spraying deodorant in a confined space, there will be countless more spraying the same way. Do we have to have another death before the authorities act?
‘I would advise teenagers to stick to roll-on deodorant, preferably one of the natural ones.’
The Capewells are also calling for better awareness of the risks of aerosol deodorants.
‘Our youngest son Nathan was four when Jonathan died and as soon as he was old enough to use deodorant we drummed into him that he had to open the windows and only use short bursts. He’s 20 now and he does that to this day, wherever he is,’ says Keith.
‘I’d like to see warnings on the front of the can, like there are for cigarettes and alcohol. Because we know first hand that deodorants can be just as fatal.’