I want to commend the PG’s Pohla Smith for raising awareness about fragrances and their impact on our health (“Suffering in a Fragrant World,” June 17). Any combination of more than 3,000 chemicals may be used to make up the ingredient “fragrance” in cosmetics, personal care items and cleaning products. The majority of these ingredients have not been tested for safety.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not have the authority to require testing and ensure that personal care products and cosmetics are free of harmful ingredients. Companies must list ingredients on product labels, except those related to “fragrance,” so that trade secrets can be protected. Some hidden ingredients in fragrance, such as phthalates, are classified as endocrine disrupters, meaning they can impact our hormone system. Other ingredients in fragrance can be derived from fossil fuels, such as coal tar or petroleum.
Scientific studies have shown that ingredients in fragrance trigger serious health conditions, including headaches, skin irritations, allergic reactions and breathing difficulties including asthma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 18.7 million people are affected with asthma in the United States. Fragrance is certainly an asthma trigger.
Women for a Healthy Environment hosts an annual Fragrance-Free campaign to raise consumer awareness about the potential health effects of using fragranced products. We offer educational forums for consumers, companies and schools interested in learning more about creating a fragrance-free environment. We encourage your readers to take actions to protect their health and those who may suffer in silence.
Women for a Healthy Environment