Pohla Smith’s June 17 article “Suffering in a Fragrant World: A Growing Number of Chemicals from Perfumes and Sprays Now Assault the Noses of Those With Allergies” contained errors that need to be corrected. Our organization represents the fragrance industry in the United States and your readers deserve to know the facts directly from the manufacturers of scents.
Fragrances used in personal care products are safe and their safety is well-documented. Fragrance materials our industry creates and uses to formulate unique scents for personal and home care products are thoroughly evaluated for safety. To support how these materials are used and handled our industry relies on the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, which evaluates fragrance materials, conducts studies and publishes its findings in scientific journals. In addition, the institute’s study protocols and results are reviewed by an independent expert panel consisting of non-industry academic advisers and clinicians.
The industry, governed by science, has evolved in the way our perfumers use the materials. A variety of fragrance materials, some dating back centuries, are no longer available or are restricted for certain applications. Therefore, contrary to Ms. Smith’s reporting, the perfumers’ palette — the inventory of fragrance materials our perfumers work with — has not been expanding but has been shrinking.
Moreover, it is not “about 500 different fragrances,” as stated in Ms. Smith’s article. There are 5,000 to 6,000 unique scents introduced into the market each year –— across fine fragrances, shampoos, laundry detergents, floor cleaners, and many, many more uses — all driven by consumer demand. This statistic alone confirms that scents play an important role in our daily lives and help make consumer products appealing.
Vice President, Communications
International Fragrance Association, North America
First Published June 29, 2014 12:00 AM