Print Edition - 2019-04-11  |  Health and Living

Should you worry about what’s in your fragrance?

  • ALL ABOUT SMELL

Apr 11, 2019-

The world is, we seem to be warned by so many articles, full of chemicals that may give us cancer, nerve damage and maybe worse. Now perfume is feared as potential poison.

And so comes the idea of “clean perfume”—much like clean eating, or clean beauty, certain ingredients are left out because it is purported they are bad for us. The actor Michelle Pfeiffer is leading the charge, launching a perfume line called Henry Rose that, she c-laims, will be free of “toxic” substances.

There is no doubt that perfume tends to smell more frightening than it once did, because there is a catch-22 at work. Most regulations focus on potential skin reactions, so manufacturers seek new materials that smell powerful at low doses, to reduce exposure. Yet these substances often smell alarmingly strong. The industry’s efforts to assuage public fear have ended up amplifying it.

No perfume can honestly claim to contain zero chemicals. It’s all chemicals. Current worries revolve around substances that mimic hormones. Pfeiffer’s range promises no phthalates, a class of chemicals used as plasticisers. Are they dangerous, and are they in perfume? Some studies seem to show specific phthalates to be potentially carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting, while others have concluded the risks are negligible.

If it is true these chemical bogeymen are hardly used, then phthalate-free fragrance has some of the silliness of gluten-free ham: products that brag about the ordinary. The fragrance industry has long resisted this, but mystery breeds paranoia. (The Guardian)

Published: 11-04-2019 11:10

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