By Lisa Frack with Becky Sutton                                                                                                         FEBRUARY 2, 2010      

This is the entire article from the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) blog about fragrance. If you really knew me you would know I have been talking about how toxic “fragrance” can be for a long time Not to mention all the other unregulated non food, non- drug chemicals not regulated in the USA by the FDA. The EWG is brilliant non-profit organization that has been arming themselves with quality research, asking some big questions and lobbying seriously in Washington (no not for corporate welfare) but for more safety in personal care and household products (actually in many many areas like water, air, food too) for many years. its thanks to them that there is more regulation for BPA in baby products.

If you have not done so before, go to the EWG website for a mountain of helpful articles based on sound research and consumer and environmental protection principles.

They also maintain a database, Skin Deep of many personal care products where you can look up for toxicity levels, known information on individual ingredients and even add up everything you use (from top to toe, shampoo to nailpolish) and see what your overall load is. You can also add products that they dont have yet to improve the database. I cannot sing their praises enough!


Enviroblog readers all know that “fragrance” is a term that the cosmetics, cleaning and candle industries use on ingredient lists that discloses only that there are unnamed chemicals in the product.

Which is not so helpful for avid label-readers (like me) who want and deserve full information when choosing products. Unless you use it as a red flag of what not to buy, that is. Then – and only then – is it helpful.

It’s pretty big news that, after years of intentional mystery, the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) decided to publish an alphabetical list of ingredients that its members reportedly use to make consumer products.

Why’d they do it?

Simple: consumers want more transparency (yes, you’re being heard!). And while this isn’t exactly the kind of transparency we had in mind, or that helps consumers make informed decisions about their health, it’s a step. (And it’s a decent PR move for IFRA, right?)

A long list with some bad actors

A long list of chemicals that you can’t pronounce is not in itself toxic – even if it looks it. But an analysis of these 3,163 chemicals in EWG’s Cosmetics Database shows that there is reason for concern.

In fact, 1 in 20 earned a “high” hazard score (7-10 of 10), and a full 1 in 6 rated at least a “moderate” hazard score (3-10 of 10). 25 of them scored a 10, the highest score:

25 chemicals scored a “10” in Skin Deep
Dibutyl phthalate
Diethylhexyl phthalate
Nano titanium dioxide
Nano zinc oxide (20-60nm)
PEG-3 Sorbitan oleate
PEG-6 Sorbitan oleate

Some chemicals on the list are very troubling
Of the 3,163 chemicals listed, several stand out as particularly toxic: phthalates, octoxynols and nonoxynols. Phthalates are potent hormone disruptors linked to reproductive system birth defects in baby boys. Octoxynols and nonoxynols break down into persistent hormone disruptors, as well.

What kind of products contain these chemicals?
All kinds. To name several: facial cleanser, after shave, astringents, hair color, cleaning products, and acne treatment.

The best way to reduce your exposure to fragrance chemicals
While this new information adds to our knowledge about fragrance chemicals, it doesn’t change our longstanding advice for choosing safer cosmetics: read the label, skip the fragrance, and look up your products in EWG’s Cosmetics Database.


Enviroblog: 3,163 ingredients hide behind the word “fragrance” Archives.