Articles in all the major papers today, telling the world what many of us already knew – perfumes are toxic.
The testing showed that each fragrance contains, on average, 14 chemicals that are not listed on the product label. In total, nearly 40 undisclosed chemicals were found in the 17 products tested. The products contained a total of 91 chemicals, some identified on labels and some not. Of those, only 19 have ever been reviewed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, a review body of the cosmetics industry.
The kicker, of course, for people with “sensitivity” to perfume is that we can’t even get a legal diagnosis of “allergic” because perfume companies are not required to list all of those ingredients. Without a list, doctors can’t isolate the individual ingredients, and to ascertain an allergic reaction, each ingredient would have to be tested. Even then, knowing you’re allergic to, say, lilial, doesn’t really help if it’s out there in the chemical soup that people shroud themselves in.
What’s reassuring is that I’m not the only one who suffers from this. Although it appears I’m also not the only one who has been made to feel stupid (it’s all in your head, quit being such a whiner), as many of the comments in both articles demonstrate.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t give any of us recourse to fight this. Working in the food and drink industry, I’m lucky – so many people depend on their senses of smell and taste to do their jobs that perfume is rare among food and wine writers. But I’ve shown up to wine tasting events where PR people were doused in fragrance, and anything with the general public is always like a game of roulette, especially if it’s assigned seating.
But it’s really not fair that so many people are trapped (or made ill) by what is really the greed of the perfume industry.