Barb Wilkie's EHN Website
Last updated 2008

EHN Board President Barb Wilkie was very ill from chemically-induced kidney disease for several years. She passed away May 31, 2011. EHN presents this site both as a tribute and as valuable information. Many links and references will be out of date but Barb's research holds up over time. We will be transferring the site page by page, with updated details, to EHN's main site. If you would like to reach an EHN staff person, please contact us directly.

GeneralLinks - C


Clicking on the alpha character will take you to another page of links.

Remember, you can use your browser's find command if you believe
something of interest to you should be on this page. If not here, and you
believe it should be, please feel free to inform me. Thanks.

Remember, while I try to get things in order, one of my problems since MCS,
is that order is often denied. Me . . . and then you. Sorry, but it is a fact of life as
fragrance chemicals cause brain injury. It is right up there with effects of concussions, or
chemo therapy, or a mini stroke. (TIA, which I've had a couple times, triggered by
fragrance chemicals and a leaking gas stove in April 2004 and May 2005, respectively.) --barb

Outbound to Government LINKS

EHN does not endorse any product, service, or therapy
and none is intended or implied.
We bring you this information as a service.

American 'beauty'
A march through time
with what was known when about petrochemical-derived fragrances

Compiled and written by Barb Wilkie,
starting around June 2000
Permission to use, to quote; just please link to, and credit , EHN.


NOTE: This is definitely a work in progress. I get to it as I can. Therefore, the bottom portion is anything but done . . . Please bear with me. -- barb

The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Cosmetic Act and I came into being in the same year. The Act was signed June 25, 1938, I'm less than a month younger. I've changed considerably. Fragrance formulations have changed considerably. The Act has not. IF you happen to believe, as do many, that the FDA is not a watchdog over the drug industry, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Cosmetics and fragrances are a very low priority to the FDA. Yet those products are used by people day in and day out from conception through prematue death of even our elderly. This effort is a birthday present to myself. I hope it helps others.

Officials, industry and our legislators have known of harmful effects of fragrances and scented products for years. And years. Once ordinary individuals lose their health, then they and those near and dear to them learn of the harmful effects of fragrances and other cosmetics. Or in the parlance of the FDA, they suffer "adverse health events" -- acknowledged by the FDA when it comes to drugs, but not when it comes to fragrance and flavors products. Yet pharmaceuticals, flavors and fragrances are concocted from petrochemical derivatives. All can cause health harm; take lives prematurely.

Following are snippets of what we've learned, when when it comes to the fragrance aspect of the cosmetic world. But, here's where we find things get easily muddled which best suits industry. While fragrances are used in all sorts of perfumes and colognes, they are not limited to those products. Fragrances and their twin, flavors, are also found in cosmetics, personal care items and drugs -- over-the-counter and prescribed pharmaceuticals. But these petrochemical derivatives don't stop there . . . and here's were things get really muddled . . . they are added to a huge array of products that do not come under the "authority" of the FDA. Then you have to turn to the Environmental Protection Agency and/or the Consumer Products Safety Commission, and unless their staff has learned something recently, they are likely to tell you that if you are made sick by fragrances you have to turn to the FDA. And as soon as you mention to the FDA that you are made extremely ill by fragrances as found in fabric softeners, or some detergent, or trash bag, or kitty litter, or air "freshener" or deodorant or baby wipes, or ...., well you get the idea . . . for just as soon as you mention a product that is not personal care or cosmetic, the FDA tells you it has no authority over that product. Even if it is the fragrance in that product that is making you sick. Talk about your government fragmentation! The only winner is the industry, for it sure as hell isn't pubic health. And yet, the FDA, EPA, and CPSC all are charged with protecting the public health. Now how about them apples? (Just make sure it is an apple from Mother Nature, not from the petrochemical industry!)

We will see how early on the flavors and fragrance industry took care of itself, fending off government regulation and oversight, which it still does. A major player is the lobbying group, the Fragrance Materials Association, which claims: "Providing the public with safe and wholesome fragrances and fragrance ingredients." Would true regulation of the flavors and fragrance industry better serve public health? Judging by how hard the industry works against labeling laws, and to keep trade secret protections, one may think so.

Fragrance formulations are not like they were thousands of years ago, nor like they were hundreds of years ago, despite the fact that the industry is quick to tell us how people have been using scents for hundreds of years. The older generations were not using these scents in their younger years, nor were they subjected to a plethora of perfumed products. The power of perfume pollution really got underway starting in the 1970s and escalated in the '80s and '90s.

Factors to consider:


  • fragrance formulations changed in the 20th century, switching from mainly plant and animal essences to scents derived from petrochemicals, and this is especially true during the past three decades;


  • perfumes are no longer used for just special occasions as had been the case during my early years;


  • perfumes are crafted for heavier scents; to volatilize quickly; to waft further and last longer on the ambient air -- hence fragrances can affect far more people, including the very people whose astute doctors advise the impossible: "Avoid fragrances!";


  • fragrances have been advertised for mass market appeal, giving the public the message that fragrances are to be enjoyed everywhere, including in work areas where they had been forbidden not that many years ago (e.g., healthcare facilities, schools, public transit conveyances, civic entities, ...);


  • fragrances have been added to a far greater array of products, including those used for personal care and those used for a wide variety of household and janitorial cleaning and maintenance chores, and they've also been added to kitty litter, to candles, and there's been a bloom of air "fresheners". (What a misnomer air "freshener" is!)


Times have changed. Petrochemical-derived fragrances have become ubiquitous. It is past time for government oversight of this self-regulated, trade-secret-protected industry, that takes pride in denying the public their right to know through better labeling laws.

So what's the deal with modern fragrances?

Each scent is now synthesized using tens to hundreds of inadequately tested petrochemical derivatives from the industry's repertoire of 3,000 to 5,000 chemicals. As it currently stands, the public must take it as a matter of faith that perfumes and other fragrances used in products are safe and have been thoroughly tested as proclaimed by the industry.

You'll find petrochemical-derived fragrances not only in perfumes and colognes, but also added to cosmetics, personal care products, environmental enhancement products and pharmaceuticals.

About 60 percent of the industry's fragrances are added to the plethora of products used for cleaning and maintenance chores. Think of the number of times you are breathing in chemically concocted "lemon" or "fresh" scent in cleaners, detergents, fabric softeners (both while in the laundry, on the neighborhood's ambient air, while in use or worn after laundry), pesticides, kitty litter, trash bags, candles, and air "fresheners." With a little research, you'll also find that fragrances twin -- flavors -- are added to tobacco, prepared foods, pharmaceuticals, drinks, etc.

Visit a major player in the industry, International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. and check out the information on their products: Beverages, Dairy, Fabric Care, Fine Fragrances, Home Care, Ingredients, Oral Care & Pharmaceutical, Personal Wash, Savory, Sweet, Toiletries, Hair, Skin, Deos. See!OpenForm

The various branches of the flavors and fragrance industry assure us of the safety of fragrances and their ingredients. When a question of safety arises, we are assured of the low-levels of chemicals and are given "safe as used" statements -- safe in the small quantity used in that one product. But that ignores the effects of combinations of chemicals, the effects of exposure over time to user and nonuser. The fact is that fragrance chemicals can "target" organs and can store in adipose (fatty ) tissue. All those assurances of safety also, and most certainly, ignore the fact that chemicals can affect brain tissue.

The industry's assurances fly in the face of the escalating rates of chronic diseases affecting people of all ages, genders, races. Worldwide. Look at the soaring rates of asthma that have marched in lockstep with proliferation of modern, petrochemical-derived fragrances.

Then begin looking into cancers, Alzheimer's ADD, Parkinson's, MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, the disability that cannot say its name out loud).

Real, unbiased research must be done. The industry has not protected public health, nor have our government agencies that are charged with doing just that. Had the public been protected, there would not now be millions of people adversely affected by petrochemical-derived fragrances, worldwide. And I dare say, we'd not have lost friends to premature death.

Please remember it is not just perfumes and colognes we should be concerned about, but scents added to all of your cosmetics and personal care products, as well as those added to all of those products used for household and janitorial cleaning and maintenance chores. These products, by the bye, fall into a sort of "no man's land" when it comes to government oversight.

And there is another hindrance to becoming an informed consumer: Even products labeled "unscented" or "fragrance-free" may legally carry fragrance when used as a masking scent to hide other objectionable odors. This "little bit" of scent -- it is the chemicals! -- can trigger an asthmatic reaction or severe skin reactions in the already fragrance-sensitized individual.

From my point of view, we have far too many "unexplained" soaring rates of chronic illnesses and premature deaths to continue blithely ignoring fragrances as a possible culprit.

To not look at the role played by the flavors and fragrance industry's products in our adverse health events, to not look more closely at fragrances themselves through analysis and realistic tests, is fast becoming tantamount to a dereliction of duty.

In my opinion. I liken the lack of regulation with electric signals getting placed at dangerous intersections only after enough lives have been paid. Our legislative bodies, at state and federal levels, and our government agencies, have not taken seriously the need to better inform the public of the potential dangers in using petrochemical-derived fragrances. Will regulation of the industry come only after our disabilities and premature deaths impact the health care system and business? There is more to economics than continuing to grow out the bottom line of the petrochemical industry through the manufacturing of its flavors, fragrances, pesticides and pharmaceuticals.

A little asthma, my dear?

I ask that you think about the soaring rates of "UNEXPLAINED" asthma cases. Oh, to be sure, there are other adverse health effects suffered because of petrochemical-derived fragrances, but let's just start with asthma.

The spawning of scented products correlates with the increase rates and severity of asthma and other chronic diseases. I am not claiming that petrochemical-derived fragrances are the only cause of unexplained asthma, nor am I denigrating the role played by the usual suspects: cats, dogs, cockroaches, dust mites, mold and sometimes mousy dung. I beg that those who have yet to learn of the adverse health effects associated with fragrances, also look to the inadequately tested chemical concoctions benignly labeled FRAGRANCE.

"Fragrance" is all that the FDA requires on labels. That does not begin to tell you of the type and depth of the health problems fragrance users -- and nonusers --may have. What are fragrance chemicals doing to the health -- and work productivity -- of users, their infants and children, and to nonusers? Nonusers are often family, peers, colleagues; someone seeking help for civic leaders; fellow patients, passengers or worshipers.

Fragrances are known to cause, exacerbate and trigger asthma. Various agencies, including the American Lung Association, the American Medical Association, the Environmental Protection Agency, and yes, even the FDA, make a link between asthma and fragrance products, although it may not be easily discovered on their sites. Remember, often it is the nonuser who has the astute doctor who has recommended that he/she "Avoid fragrances!" Impossible advice to follow when perfume pollution is allowed in public places.

There's more here than just what meets the nose!

Let's look beyond asthma.

Analyses show that fragrance chemicals contain carcinogens, hormone disrupters, irritants (POISON to upper and lower respiratory system and skin), mutagens, neurotoxins, sensitizers (adversely affecting upper and lower respiratory system and skin) and teratogens (capable of adversely affecting developing embryos and fetuses). That's a heady brew to be unleashing upon an unsuspecting public. It is past time due to thoroughly study fragrances -- beyond the industry standard of dermatological reactions to the primary user. The best cure for skyrocketing chronic diseases is PREVENTION.

Fragrances should be studied for effects upon inhalation by user and nonuser; for systemic effects and for effects after long-term exposures -- first or secondhand; for neurotoxicity and chemical brain injury; for reproductive problems; for effects upon developing embryos, fetuses, infants, children; for the dire effects upon the already chemically injured and our elderly.

Fragrance chemicals should be examined for effects at the cellular level. Study fragrance chemicals with an eye to the fact that they can bioaccumulate, and research petrochemical-derived fragrances for a possible role in the causes of "unexplained" and environmentally linked cancers. Tobacco is. Alcohol is. Fragrances should be.


I plead that mainstream medical doctors keep in mind that there are chemical-induced colds, flus, pneumonia, asthma, migraines, cancers, nervous system disorders, fetal-development problems, et cetera. And there is research indicating that chemicals can cause aggressive behavior and attention deficit disorder, among other maladies. Study the chemicals used to concoct modern scents and flavors -- analyses have been run on a few perfumes. Work with your patients to learn more about the harmful effects of the products they have been coerced into purchasing through advertising and incomplete consumer information. Suggest your patients switch to organic products and products that do not contain petrochemical-derived fragrances and flavors; have them keep a diary. Patients can begin learning their own body's reactions, and then recognize their triggers; soon it becomes a way of life. A safer way of life.

Until such time that fragrances are openly proved safe, the public should look for safer alternative products. They exist. The already chemically injured use them. Millions of us are using alternative products with success. The market for safer alternatives is growing! Buy organic. Buy petroleum-free cleaning products. The options are yours. Your health and the health of your children may be at stake. Remember the adage: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


And, until such time that fragrances are openly proved safe, the Department of Justice should re-address its ruling regarding the use of petrochemical-derived fragrances being a "personal choice."

FEB 16 1995, a DOJ ruling by John L. Wodatch, Chief Public Access Section states:

    Use of fragrances is usually a matter of personal choice by individual employees, rather than a business or employment policy. In most circumstances, it would not be "reasonable" to require an employer to regulate such personal choices by its employees.
I beg to differ. Strongly. To wear perfume so your lover can smell you, that's a personal choice. What you wear so others can smell you is quite a public choice. And, when you are dealing with the public, one must begin to think of the common good, even if one doesn't give a hang about what these untested chemical combos could do to one's own health. People are not generally in a healthcare facility as a frivolous choice . . . and, they shouldn't be put in a position of requesting air free of fragranced products. But IF they do make such a request, then, in my opinion, the health care facility or doctor's office should definitely provide that accommodation AND begin to learn more about those superfluous toxins so they may better understand the needs of their other patients as well. Just my not-so-humble-opinion. (Which, by the bye, I've shared time and again with Mr. Wodatch.)

We ALL are stakeholders when it comes to breathing.

Compilation of information and editorial comments by
Barb Wilkie

(Disclosure: My health failed due to perfumes and other fragrance products worn and used by others in my former workplace. It was the constant exposure. The chemicals were not so "low level" as they are claimed to be. Not with phthalates added to scents to make them last and last and last ... The work environment was not flushed with fresh air for twenty minutes following exposure, as in some perfume tests. I have been diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity by several astute and reputable doctors.MCS is real. Get use to it. Only then will you begin to do your part to clear the air.

And help save the planet. It is our only one. Saving the planet is everybody's business! For after all, fragrances release a lot of CO2 to the air. Just think of manufacturing for starters, but also, know the study done by the Air Quality District in southern California. Indoor air pollution and outdoor air pollution is also the result of the use of a myriad of fragrance products. No wonder health has tanked -- the pollutants are right under your nose!


  • See: Chemicals in Home a Big Smog Source
    by GARY POLAKOVIC / LA Times 9mar03


  • 1999 joint meeting including ATSDR & CDC
    The Health Impact of Chemical Exposures During the Gulf War:
    A research Planning Conference

    They say, "A picture is worth a thousand words."
    I say, Thank you, Peggy D. March 1999

    Folks, that's the ATSDR, which is the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry AND the CDC -- the agency that always leaves out its most important initial, P -- CDC really stands for the Centers for Disease Control and PREVENTION. These are a couple of our government agencies who, in my personal opinion, have done their level best to really screw up the lives of those living with MCS . . . the disability that cannot say its name out loud. -- barb

The Chronology

By decades:







June 25, 1938 . . . The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act

Regarding that Act, we learn from Lynn Lawson via her book, Staying Well in a Toxic World: Understanding Environmental Illness, Chemical Sensitivities, Chemical Injuries, and Sick Building Syndrome, that Ralph Nader had commented in the foreword of Being Beautiful (see 1986 below), "Due to some adroit lobbying years ago by the cosmetic industry, the FDA has to beg for safety, rather than demand it."(Copyright 1993; Noble Press; Page 287.)

Alas, the FDA still doesn't do that begging for safety!

The FDA cannot require pre-market testing and it does not test. Any word from industry to FDA about related injuries from fragrance/cosmetic products is strictly voluntarily released information. The industry voluntarily recalls harmful products . . . the FDA is forbidden to institute recalls, without first proving cause in a court of law.

The FDA can do one thing toward informing the public, yet it does NOT do it. The FDA has a requirement for a warning message on labels of products released to market without substantiation of safety, but it does not enforce it's own regulation. That alert would read: "WARNING: The safety of this product has not been determined." See FDA Authority Over Cosmetics at

1940 (I will bounce back to the chronology following Fragrance Intros, picking up with 1976. But for the fragrance launches, I'll group them all right here. Notice the numbers of perfumes entering the market . . . not only for women but for men. And fail not to notice that the fragrance industry targets kids, Hispanics and African Americans for sales. Just guess which demographics -- people to you and to me -- wind up with those "unexplained" soaring raes of asthna, and other diseases associated with chemical assaults.)


Let us look at the proliferation of perfumed products, based on information from The Fragrance Foundation® Inc.

  • 1940 ‚ 1950: 19 fragrances were introduced for women, four for men
  • 1950 - 1960: 30 fragrances introduced for women, six for men
  • 1960 - 1970: 46 fragrances introduced for women, 31 for men
  • 1970 ‚ 1980: 197 fragrances introduced for women and 90 for men.
My tallies for the years 1980 - 1989 and 1990 - 1999 are based on the info provided by The Fragrance FoundationÆ, Inc.
  • 1980 - 1989: 281 fragrances introduced for women, 181 for men.
  • 1990 - 1999: 636 fragrances introduced for women, 309 for men.

Fragrance launches sources:

  • 1940 - 2001 --
  • 2001 -- [Launches by name]
  • 2002 -- [Launches by name]
  • More to come . . .

Proliferation of perfume has been launched and it continues to soar. And with the numbers above, we are talking strictly perfumes. During this same time frame, other inadequately tested chemical soups, benignly labeled "Fragrance," were added to an ever enlarging array of cosmetics and personal care products for body and hair . Products not only used by adults, but those designed for infants and children of all ages. This covers roughly 25 percent of the fragrance market.

Approximately 60 percent of the modern fragrances are added to household and janitorial cleaning and maintenance products, which includes cleaners, detergents for dishes and laundry, fabric softeners, pesticides, disinfectants, various types of air "fresheners" -- what a misnomer that is! And then working toward 100 percent, we find fragrances are added to accoutrements such as candles, trash bags, kitty litter; even a bouquet of cut flowers could be doused with perfume in an effort to make the scent last. Furthermore, fragrances and their twin, flavors, are added to pharmaceuticals. For an astute doctor, this knowledge would remove the mystery of why those living with MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) often find taking pharmaceuticals a sure way to adversely impact their health.

Take a moment to think about the proliferation of scented products -- remember perfumes and all other scented personal care products, as well as scented cleaning and maintenance products. The industry's dream of ubiquitous scent has been realized. Ignored is the tanking of public health, which is indicated in soaring rates of various chronic diseases . . . and premature deaths.

Let us look at but one chronic disease, the rates of which have soared during the same period of time as perfumes proliferated: Asthma.

"Researchers do not understand completely why children develop asthma or why asthma prevalence has increased in the past two decades." EPA's Draft Report on the Environment: at

Without cooperation, it is impossible for the fragrance-sensitized individual to follow an astute doctor's recommendation: Avoid fragrances!




1976 - 2003. . . Leffingwell & Associates, providing Flavors and Fragrance patents

1977 . . . Doctoral Dissertation: THE COMPARATIVE RESPIRATORY IRRITATION POTENTIAL OF FOURTEEN FRAGRANCE RAW MATERIALS. Unpublished report to RIFM. 1977 References: Troy W.R. (William Troy is gainfully employed by the fragrance industry.)

Excerpted from Chapter V, Summary and Conclusions (page 99):
"It has been demonstrated that fragrance raw materials can be successfully evaluated for respiratory irritancy by use of the whole body plethysmographic technique. The species used in these investigations, the mouse, was shown to be responsive to the effects of these materials, and ideally suited to the type of measurements made here.

"The category of fragrance raw materials was selected for investigation because of their unknown potential for evoking a mild respiratory response in some individuals who may be exposed to these materials in the form of a finished perfume. Such a response has been characterized as consisting of symptoms associated with changes in respiratory rate, depth of respiration and bronchoconstriction. It was decided that, in order to investigate these materials in an organized fashion, selection of compounds for testing would be based on rate of use in fragrance compounding. Fourteen fragrance raw materials which represent the major components of the four most widely used essential oils were finally selected. ..."

Available for purchase through

You'll be taken through three pages where you enter obvious info and click "continue." When you reach the search page, key in the order number 7720819.

1978. . . Report to the Congress of the United States by the Comptroller General: Lack of Authority Hampers Attempts to Increase Cosmetic Safety. Published by the General Accounting Office, August 1978.

This is the report that states:

    "About 125 ingredients available for use in cosmetics are suspected of causing cancer, ... about 25 are suspected of causing birth defects and 20 may cause adverse effects on the nervous system, including headaches, drowsiness and convulsions." [Emphasis added.]
That, was 1978!

What if heed had been taken? What if the flavors and fragrance industry had actually come under the scrutiny of a Food and Drug Administration or even a Consumer Products Safety Commission? Would we see those" UNEXPLAINED" soaring rates of cancers, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, asthma, headaches, eczema, ADD, ADHD, Autism, MCS, CFIDS, various chronic diseases of respiratory system or gastrointestinal system, of renal failure????? I doubt it. Look back over time and the soaring, burgeoning rates are all measured from the 1970s . . . the very period of time when suddenly our flavors and fragrances were largely derived from petrochemicals. Just think of your daily ingestion and absorption and inhalation. You do not have to apply these products to your own body to become a user! -- barb

This report, including Appendix I, REPORTED TOXIC EFFECTS OF CERTAIN COSMETIC INGREDIENTS, is made available to you through the publication, Being Beautiful. See 1986, below, for ordering information.

1979 . . . Fragrance Exposure Causes Aggression Hyperactivity and Nerve Damage Neurotoxicology, Volume 1:221-237, 1979


    "One fragrance chemical used in perfumes, colognes, soaps, detergents and cosmetics has been found to damage brain tissue in the laboratory animals tested. The compound, called acetyl ethyl tetramethyl tetralin (AETT), was commonly used in the above mentioned consumer products until scientists realized the chemical demonstrated serious neurotoxic properties. In fact, the chemical was in widespread use as a fragrance component in cosmetic, toiletry and soap products for a period of 22 years before the problem was detected. The first laboratory evidence of a problem came after researchers detected repeated percutaneous exposure to AETT in rats resulted in an extraordinary blue discoloration of the skin and internal organs, followed by behavioral changes and degeneration of the white matter in the brain. Upon realizing the potential harm from this compound, the fragrance industry voluntarily discontinued its use. This action was accepted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) early in 1978."
For more information, visit
Chem-Tox information
Compiled by Wayne Sinclair, MD, Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Richard Pressinger, M.Ed., Tampa, FL

May 11, 1979 . . . Science. 1979 May 11;204(4393):633-5. Related Articles, Links
Neurotoxic fragrance produces ceroid and myelin disease.
Spencer PS, Sterman AB, Horoupian DS, Foulds MM.

    "Acetyl ethyl tetramethyl tetralin (AETT), a component of soaps, deodorants, and cosmetics, produces hyperirritability and limb weakness in rats repeatedly exposed to the compound. Brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves are discolored blue, show progressive neuronal ceroid degeneration, and develop spectacular myelin bubbling. These neurotoxic properties of AETT provide the basis for industry's decision to withdraw the compound from consumer products. In addition, AETT offers the experimentalist a new probe to explore the etiology and pathogeneses of human ceroid and myelin diseases."

    Publication Types:

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
    PMID: 432669 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Late 1970s or early 1980s . . .
I'd certainly caution people to avoid fragrance products until we get that testing that was called for back in the late 1970s or early '80s. This was written long before analyses were done of perfumes by outside parties, like EHN (1999) and GreenPeace UK ( circa 2002).

(Reference is the undated Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety (third revised edition; their references were for work of 1973, 1974 and 1976.). The text reads:

    " ... The continuing use of perfumes and essences in food or for external application should provide sufficient reason for systematic studies on the pharmacology and chronic toxicity of all components to ensure that these substances do not contain certain harmful or even carcinogenic constituents. The fact that most of the ethereal oils have, for many centuries, been used as flavorurings, digestives, perfumes and medicaments cannot be considered as guaranteeing their harmlessness; the unrestricted use of these substances can be considered justified only following laboratory testing. "

What caught my attention was the fact that the industry is always claiming that fragrances have been used since biblical times or have a long history of use or some such phrasing. Of course, they never give a hint that the fragrance formulas have changed one iota. (During the 70s the move to petrochemical derivatives really began taking off.) Nor do they talk of the proliferation of the perfumes to pollute an ever greater array of products. And the industry tops it off by telling us how safe the chemicals are as used and that their products and their ingredients are safe and wholesome. But, where, in all that, is the truth? And where in that given us by the industry, is the idea that "the unrestricted use of these substances can be considered justified only following laboratory testing"? [Emphasis added.] We still don't have full substantiation of safety . . . and EHN's Citizens' Petition, filed with the FDA and assigned by them, docket number 99P-1340, still sits open, awaiting comments from a public that is tired of being poisoned in this fashion.

So, write to the FDA! Write today to


Sept. 30, 1984 . . . Neurotoxic properties of musk ambrette. Spencer PS, Bischoff-Fenton MC, Moreno OM, Opdyke DL, Ford RA. Musk ambrette (2,6-dinitro-3-methoxy-4-tert-butyltoluene), a nitro-musk compound widely used as a fixative in fragrance formulations and found to a lesser degree in flavor compositions, produces hindlimb weakness when administered in the diet or applied to skin of rats for periods up to 12 weeks. Underlying neuropathologic changes consist of primary demyelination and distal axonal degeneration in selected regions of the central and peripheral nervous system. Murine neurological disease induced by musk ambrette occurs at doses well above estimated maximum daily human exposure. Lifetime experimental neurotoxicology studies using lower concentrations of musk ambrette for prolonged periods would be needed for the estimation of human risk.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1984 Sep 30;75(3):571-5.

January 1986 . . . Am J Med. 1986 Jan;80(1):18-22. Effect of odors in asthma.
Shim C, Williams MH Jr.

    "...Many patients complain that some odors worsen their asthma. Perfume and cologne are two of the most frequently mentioned offenders. Four patients with a history of worsening of asthma on exposure to cologne underwent challenge with a cologne, and their pulmonary function was tested before, during, and after the exposure.[Emphasis added.] Forced expiratory volume in one second declined 18 to 58 percent below the baseline period during the 10-minute exposure and gradually increased in the next 20 minutes. Saline placebo pretreatment did not affect the response to subsequent challenge. Single-blind pretreatment with metaproterenol and atropine prevented decline in one-second forced expiratory volume in three of four patients and blunted the response in the other. Cromolyn sodium prevented decline in one of four, and occlusion of nostrils prevented decline in one of three. A survey of 60 asthmatic patients revealed a history of respiratory symptoms in 57 on exposure to one or more common odors. Odors are an important cause of worsening of asthma...."

PMID: 3079951 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

And, if one has the paper, one will learn on page 19, that Shim and Williams "... carefully distinguished between unpleasant emotional reaction to the odors and respiratory symptoms." [Empahsis added.]

Perfume chemicals do volatilize and they do cause asthma, as well as a myriad of other health problems, including adversely affecting the cradiovascular and neurological systems, and they can cause birth defects. Synthetic scents are unnecessary body burdens. It is due time for the public to get acurate information about the harmful effects of synthetic scents -- for their own bodies, if not immediately, then down through time, and certainly immediately for untold others who are forced to breathe the harmful vapors from their fragrance products.

The adverse events can be immediate and deadly for some folks and yet, show up years later in others. What you, the public, has to know is that these products are released to market without full substantiation of safety. Aren't you worth more than just shoddy, reprehensible marketing ploys? I believe so. It is time our government agencies start living up to their mission statesments to PROTECT public health. But that will not happen until YOU start demanding safer products for personal care and cleaning and maintenance chores. And that includes those produced by the heretofore sacrosanct Flavors and Fragrance industry. -- barb

1986 . . . Being Beautiful -- with foreword by Ralph Nader.

    "What you need to know about cosmetics, allergies, no-frills cosmetics, and 'natural alternatives'. Also, information about harmful ingredients that you should avoid."

This book is a compilation of information gathered up to press time in 1986, and includes the report from the 1978 General Accounting Office's official study on inadequate federal regulation of cosmetic safety. Included is "a list of one hundred twenty-five (125) cosmetic chemicals that are believed to cause cancer."

A couple of other comments by Ralph Nader in the Foreword:

    "Due to some adroit lobbying years ago by the cosmetic industry, the FDA has to beg for safety, rather than demand it."

    "Even with what authority is granted -- to require labeling, ban hazardous ingredients and seize dangerous or contaminated products -- the FDA is too bereft of will and too underfunded to perform its duties effectively."

Order by sending a check or money order for $10 (still true July 2004) to:
    Being Beautiful
    P.O. Box 19367
    Washington, DC 20036

    Phone: 202-387-8030

Sept. 16, 1986 . . . Neurotoxins: At Home and the Workplace -- (Report by the Committee on Science and Technology to the U.S. House of Representatives) [Report 99-827]. Available through some libraries. A few excerpts keyed in (with more to come) at

Excerpted from page 13, starting near top

    "Several witnesses at the hearing testified as to the need to coordinate health research efforts among and within government agencyes Some agencies, like the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative and Stroke (NINCS), and the National Institute of Aging (NIA) have expressed special concern regarding the relationship between neurotoxic exposure and disease. Yet, other agencies, such as the FDA, are, according to Dr. Spencer, 'reluctant' to take the subject of neurotoxins seriously " Dr. Spencer illustrated this point through the story of the cosmetic AETT. In that case, industry scientists, assisted by Dr. Spencer, demonstrated that this fragrance compound was, in fact, neurotoxic. Industry took the test results to FDA and voluntarily withdreww AETT from the market. However, as Dr. Spencer testified ' ... it is significant, I think, that FDA, as far as I'm aware, choose [sic] not to regulate on that particular compound, so it can be introduced at any future time.' "Finally, the witnesses on health effects were asked by Chairman Volkmer to prioritize those chemicals which should be examined for neurotoxicity: DR. WEISS I think the dominant chemicals would be heavy metals, solvents, and allied chemical classes, insecticides, and I think, important but neglected, food additives. ... Also, certain air pollutants. * * * DR. SPENCER. I would support what Dr. Weiss has said. I wouldn't be so restrictive perhaps a [sic] to say insecticides, perhaps pesticides and fungicides, a broader category. "I would also add, because of my experience with regard to fragrance raw materials, that I strongly suspect the American public would like to know what is applied to their skin voluntarily, and I suspect that they would be very troubled to learn that for 50 and 30 years respectively agents have been applied to skin voluntarily, often under the guise that they are in fact improving their skin quality, but are able to penetrate skin, and a recent experiment with animals caused devastating changes in the pervious system. So I would like to add fragrance raw materials, some of which are food additives as well, to the list that Dr. Weiss offered. " [Emphasis added.]

1987 . . . Scented products and tobacco smoke are two of the most commonly cited triggers for asthma.
(Eriksson , Lowhagen , Nilsson , Norrlind , & Wihl , 1987). Extensive awareness and educational campaigns are in place to decrease exposure and increase awareness of effects of environmental tobacco smoke, there are no such campaigns for fragrance."
Information provided by Betty Bridges, RN; Fragranced Products Information Network --

1988 . . . Environmental Health Network organized.
EHN has been providing support, advocacy and information to the chemically and electrically injured since 1988. Support and Information Line (SAIL) 415.541.5075; and newsletter, The Reactor, renamed, The New Reactor (now in hiatus); Available electronically: The Best of the Reactor, Editor, Susan Molloy. EHN's website:

ca 1989 . . .Making Sense of Scents
By Julia Kendall

  • watery or dry eyes, double vision,


  • sneezing, nasal congestion, sinusitis,


  • tinnitus, ear pain,


  • dizziness, vertigo,


  • coughing, bronchitis, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, laryngitis, asthma,


  • anaphylaxis, headaches, seizures, fatigue, confusion, disorientation, incoherence, short-term memory loss, inability to concentrate,


  • nausea,

    lethargy, anxiety, irritability, depression, mood swings, restlessness,


  • rashes, hives, eczema, flushing,


  • muscle and joint pain, muscle weakness,


  • irregular heart beat, hypertension,


  • swollen lymph glands, and more.
    (Candida Research and Information Foundation, Perfume Survey, Winter 1989-90.)


1990 . . . Environmental Illness Briefing Paper
published by the then Chemical Manufacturers Association

The industry strikes back at the already chemically injured by concentrating its attention on those living with the disability known as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. In this fashion, it was able to take the focus off of people living with asthma and other disabling respiratory diseases; people with cancer; Parkinson's and other neurological diseases, including ADD and ADHD; and reproductive problems. (The rates for various chronic diseases, included those named above have been rising in lockstep with the proliferation of perfumed products.) Industry profit before public health is the message of the EI Briefing Paper. Excerpted:

    "... The impact, however, would not be restricted to the chemical industry. Commonly used chemicals are found everywhere, in the home, the workplace, outdoors, shopping malls, and even hospitals. Potentially affected industries include the textiles, clothing, lawn care products, household cleaners, dry cleaners, paints and solvents, perfumes, hair treatment products, plastics, paper and many other consumer goods industries. ..."

Barb's opinion: The strong efforts against access and accommodation for the already chemically injured, along with the fragrances propaganda, are ongoing. Worldwide. Do not believe all you read from the fragrance industry and its various facets. It is not governed by the US Food and Drug Administration, which, if they give a straight answer, will tell you that cosmetics and fragrances are at the very bottom of their priorities. Indeed, the former long-time head of FDA's cosmetics branch, "retired" . . . . finding that revolving door to the fragrance industry quite welcoming! Weigh what you read -- all the poop sheets from the industry -- against other information, including analyses of fragrances and fragrance products. Look for information provided by reputable doctors and researchers outside the industry, but keep in mind, that there maybe some reputable folks within the industry, or even within the FDA. Certainly be mindful of the chemical industry front organizations. Look closely at who's vested interest is affected. Then make your purchasing decisions. To be on the safe side, always choose products without the word "fragrance" . . . or "flavor" . . . on the label. IF you see those bengin sounding words, you must realize that they are petrochemically derived and potential hazards for your body and the bodies of others coming in contact with you.

For more information regarding the concerted efforts employed against the already chemically injured, visit EHN's "Stuff Happens!" at

1990 . . . Bad Chemistry -- a KQED-TV production (San Francisco PBS)
A film on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, available through Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Princeton, NJ, for $89.95 (VHS), $99.95 (DVD). This price includes the right to show it to a group (no lower cost, home-viewing only versions available). (Checked 7/22/04.) Call: 1.800.257.5126 -- M - F; 8:30 a.m. --5:30 p.m. eastern time.

For additional information regarding available videos, see EHN's page V/Videos at

Feb. 05, 1990 -- Neurotoxin Concerns, Controversy Escalate By Elizabeth Pennisi The Scientist,4[3]:1, Feb. 05, 1990


    Pull quote: "Scientists are realizing that substances in the environment can have devastating effects on the human nervous system."

    "... Those substances are everywhere: organic solvents in the workplace, chemicals in perfumes, pesticides used on lawns, natural and added chemicals in foods, or prescribed or illegal drugs. [Emphasis added.] The brain is the body's kingpyn[sic] organ; yet, once damaged or destroyed, nerve cells cannot be replaced. Already, the congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) estimates that the care and treatment of neurological disorders and accompanying loss of productivity can cost the U.S. as much as $300 billion a year. No one knows how much neurotoxins contribute to that cost. The longer we live, the more evident the damage, and the more burdened the health care system will become to people with behavioral, mental, and neurological problems. "The measure of the problem is huge," says Spencer. [Peter Spencer, director and senior scientist at the Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland]..." [Emphasis added.]

1992 . . . Twenty Most Common Chemicals Found in Thirty-One Fragrance Products,
The late Julia Kendall's complialtion of information based upon the work of EPA's Lance Wallace, et al., "Identification of Polar Volatile Organic Compounds in Consumer Products and Common Microenvironments, "1991 and matched against corresponding MSDS. Note: Wallace, like the industry, has stressed to me in personal phone conversation, the small amount of chemicals used. But I ask in return: If such small amounts of chemicals pose no harm, why the high rates of "unexplained" chronic illnesses, disabling effects and deaths? Could it be the experts are not looking at damage at the cellular level? Could it also be that any one chemical used in any one scent might be fine, but that one must realistically take into account the combinations of chemicals being absorbed and inhaled from the vast array of volatilizing scented products used by untold numbers of people with whom we all come in contact on any given day? These chemicals make sick and disabled . . . and cause premature death . . . to those who do not and have not personally applied them to their own bodies. Fragrance chemical soups are heady brews to be unleashing upon an unsuspecting public. The FDA should do its duty and at the very, very least, require it's alert be affixed to all labels of all fragrances released to market without full substantiation of safety for respiratory, neurological, carcinogenic, teratogenic, systemic and long-term effects. To user and secondhand user, alike. -- barb

1993 . . . Fabric Softeners = Health Risks From Dryer Exhaust and Treated Fabrics
More from Julia Kendall, based upon the work of EPA's Lance Wallace, et al., "Identification of Polar Volatile Organic Compounds in Consumer Products and Common Microenvironments," 1991 and "Polar Organic Compounds in Fragrances of Consumer Products," 1992. (See "Note" above.) Julia's information is available in back-to-back flyer format, through EHN upon request; include a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and mail to EHN, PO Box 1155, Larkspur CA 94977 or see online at

1994 . . . Undereducated doctors The statistics are in a publication by a multi-agency group, including EPA, that tells us: A 1994 survey of environmental medicine content in US medical schools found that: "doctors are likely to have attended the 75 percent of the medical schools that require only seven hours training during their medical schooling." Source: Health Care & Pesticides (National Strategies for Health Care Providers: Pesticides Initiative -- report's documentation: Schenk M, Popp SM, Neale AV, et al. Environmental medicine content in medical school curricula. Acad. Med.; 71(5):27-29.

Now, my problem is not so much the fact that our doctors are undereducated, but those who choose not to learn once they are out of school and in the real world. IF doctors don't know their patients, they are quite likely to just go with the flow of poop coming from the chemical -- medical/pharmaceutical -- industry that will not open its eyes and mind to the fact that the oft touted, "better living through chemistry" is a phrase that really means those in charge of the various facets of the chemical industry will have better living through enormous paychecks, bonuses and stock options. If one looks at the harm that chemistry has done through the unabashed used of pesticides and herbicides and flavors and fragrances and pharmaceuticals and medical proceedures, one may have another opinion of that line, "better living through chemistry."

1994 . . . The trigeminal nerve innervates the oral and nasal cavities, eyes, and airways. It has a role in taste and smell, and provides a warning of exposure to chemical irritants. Around 70% of fragrance chemicals cause sensory stimulation or irritation to some degree. (Ohloff, 1994) Irritation of the trigeminal nerve can cause effects in places other than direct contact. For example, eating very spicy foods can the eyes to water. 1994 (?) . . . The Good Scents Company -- on fragrances and pregnancy " ... Just a note, personally, if someone is pregnant, we would not use any Fragrance, Essential Oil or Aromatherapy items. It makes no difference if products come from mother nature (The greatest Perfumer of us all) or if they are synthetically produced, you're dealing with chemicals. ..." [Emphasis added.] September 1994 . . . MCS: A Sensitive Issue Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 102, Number 9 Perfume and effects are included in the discussion. -- barb Oct. 24, 1994 . . . Earlier in 1994, San Francisco developed "fragrance-free" language for public meeting attendance, as a means to accommodate the already fragrance-sensitized individual, and to lessen air pollution for all. Pressure from the industry -- threatened to pull their planned October convention -- caused the city to capitulate and withdraw the language. Julia Kendall then led a write-the-mayor campaign, and planned a coordinated protest of the October convention of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association. She was joined by environmental groups, public health groups and disability rights groups. Kendall and other fragrance-sensitized individuals gathered across the street from the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, where they began their campaign to, as Kendall stated in her press release, "educate the public on the medical evidence of serious health risks including brain and lung damage resulting from fragrance product exposures ..." That effort to raise public awareness to the harmful chemicals used to concoct modern scents was televised nationally. John Stossel of ABC's 20/20, has repeatedly used a clip of that taping in his programs against the already chemically injured. (Stossel's reputation for biased reporting has grown since his attacks on the chemically injured, yet ABC has rewarded him with a promotion in 20/20.) 1994 . . . Santa Cruz, California adopts fragrance-free language: "The City of Santa Cruz does not discriminate against persons with disabilities. Out of consideration for people with chemical sensitivities, we ask that you attend fragrance free." An example is available through City agendas at 1995 - 2003 . . . Annual Reports: Consumer Complaints About Cosmetic Products Reporting Problem Products to FDA 1995 Annual Report -- Annual Report-- 1997 Annual Report-- 1998 Annual Report-- 1999 Annual Report-- 2000 Annual Report-- 2001 Annual Report-- 2002 Annual Report-- 2003 Annual Report-- How to Report Problems With Products Regulated by FDA Cosmetics at 1995 . . . City of Oakland adopts policy for people with environmental illness or multiple chemical sensitivities [in which they request]: "Please refrain from wearing strongly scented products to meetings." Office of City Clerk Phone: 510.238.7370 Fax: 510.238.6699 Recorded Agenda: 510.238.2386 Telecommunications Display Device: 510.839.6451 July 20, 1995 . . . "Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) What It Is, What It Is Not, And How It Is Manifested" By Shelia Bastien, PhD; © Contains information on perfumes. By the way, I went from increasing sensitization to perfumed products into MCS. I didn't go gently. I struggled for 20 years to educate, while trying to protect my health to the extent possible in a highly perfume polluted workplace -- barb " ... Claudia Miller points out that many of the patients often attribute the onset of their illness to specific exposures (Vol. 10) such as repeated exposures to solvents, chemical, pesticides in sick buildings, or combustion products. "Patients report more problems and greater difficulties indoors where air fresheners, perfumes, and cleaners are used and where there are such things as particle board and carpets which outgas. The outgassing releases VOC compounds (Toxicology and Industrial Health, page 257). "These patients are often funneled off to psychiatrists and psychologists by physicians who are not familiar with MCS. "From the patient's perspective, they have lost their health, their livelihood, their friends and sometimes even family. Individuals with professional careers are likely to view their cognitive difficulties as most disabling," Dr. Miller added. They are often mislabeled as malingerers or given a psychiatric diagnosis. ... " 1995 . . . The Safe Shopper's Bible D. Steinman and S. S. Epstein. New York, September, 1995: MacMillan Publishing Company Includes information on fragrances and cosmetics, and substitute products. . . . . - 1997 . . . Stop and Smell the Memories "If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, Then Your Sense of Smell is Worth a Million" "Women and young people encode and identify odors better than others." And yet stultifiers always dismiss chemical injury, fragrance sensitization, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity as a "woman's disease" and further debunk us as "somatizers," while using chemical industry doublespeak, stating that to somatize means the body is affected by what the mind is perceiving. I say, The body, including the brain, is adversely affected by the onslaught of superfluous toxins. Don't be so quick to be dismissive and you won't see those "unexplained" soaring rates of various chemical induced diseases. 1996 . . . "Scent Circle" -- the industry's standard The Fragrance Foundation Inc. proclaimed the "Scent Circle." From Summer Tips "A person's personal åcircle of fragrance' should not extend more than an arms [sic] length away - only those people who enter his her åcircle' should be able to experience the fragrance being worn. Also on Fragrance Use Tips "Everyone has a personal "scent circle": approximately an arm's length from the body. No one should be aware of your fragrance unless he or she steps inside your "circle." Fragrance should be one of the most subtle, personal messages you send to those with whom you come in contact. It is preposterous to think that volatile organic compounds will respect any boundary. The industry has crafted scents to waft further and last longer on the ambient air, and then puts the onus on the consumer. Modern scent will last for days after laundry, or after the individual user leaves the work area. Let's take a look at that scent circle as it is meant. Who is granted that magic distance of an arm's length in a doctor's office or other health care facility? In a crowded elevator? In an auditorium? On a bus, plane or train? Or, how about in a restaurant? How many times have you had your food ruined by the odors wafting off the employees and other patrons? Those who have been told by their astute doctors to "avoid fragrances," should have their own arm's length of fragrance-free air, but that too defies logic because of the crafting of the scents. Quote from current Fragrance Tips Everyone has a personal "scent circle": approximately an arm's length from the body. No one should be aware of your fragrance unless he or she steps inside your "circle." Fragrance should be one of the most subtle, personal messages you send to those with whom you come in contact. And, in Canada, we learn through Canadian Cosmetic. Toiletry and Fragrance Association: Some Tips On Fragrance Use Keep your fragrance within arm's length. Everyone has a personal "scent circle", about an arm's length away from your body. Scent is one of the most personal messages you can send, so no one outside your circle should be aware of your fragrance. Note, their copyright gives 2003 as the date, yet I know that Canada had "Scent Circle" information available in June 2000. The Scented Products Education and Information Association of Canada (SPEIAC) prepared an ad for their proposed major newspaper ad campaign that was launched with what turned out to be their one and only ad: "Common sense about scents." Accessed July 2004 through April 30, 1996 . . . Berkeley to provide EI/MCS accommodation at city-sponsored meetings and events. The fragrance industry marched into Berkeley and out of the city council meeting smiling when this language was voted in, including a last minute change to eliminate the word "scents": "ATTENDEES AT PUBLIC MEETINGS ARE REMINDED THAT OTHER ATTENDEES MAY BE SENSITIVE TO VARIOUS ODORS, WHETHER NATURAL OR MANUFACTURED, IN PRODUCTS AND MATERIALS. PLEASE HELP THE CITY RESPECT THESE NEEDS." The Commission on Disability's proffered language for notices that failed was: "OUT OF RESPECT FOR CITIZENS WITH CHEMICAL SENSITIVITIES, WE ASK THAT YOU REFRAIN FROM WEARING SCENTED PRODUCTS." The obfuscating language pressed for by the fragrance industry was changed in January 2002. See below. May 1996 . . . Fragrance Materials
Brought to you by Betty Bridges, RN, Fragranced Products Information Network
By Stephen Herman, Natural perfumes. Drug & Cosmetic Industry, May 1996 v158 n5 p76(4).

"The major break with 'natural' came when aromatic materials not existing in nature were synthesized and introduced into perfume compounds. The legendary landmark of this development was Chanel No. 5 (introduced in 1921), containing a potent dose of decidedly unnatural aldehydes. An ever-increasing array of synthetics were added to the perfumer's palette, making possible almost all current fragrances. Economics, consistency, abundant supply, variety of odor profiles, stability--the advantages of synthetics are so overwhelming that they rapidly became pervasive."

1996 and 1997 . . . Barb Wilkie (for the Environmental Health Network -- and Betty Bridges, RN (her own, Fragranced Products Information Network -- respectively, launched websites in an effort to give the public another view of the fragrance issue.

Betty and I felt an obligation to share what we came to learn about our country's reliance upon scented products released to market with only industry's assurances of "thorough" testing. This phrase really meant tested for dermatological reactions of the primary user. There is no substantiation of safety by any government agency of these trade-secret-protected, petrochemical derived fragrances (and flavors). It must be a religious experience to use scented products, for the consumer must take it on faith that these chemical concoctions are safe and wholesome, as is touted by the industry.

Your health and the health of your family members and friends should be worth more than just the industry's sayso! Start speaking up. Demand safer products PROVED safer before marketing. Write to your representative and senators. Write to the FDA at and simply reference EHN's Citizens' Petition docket number 99P-1340, requesting that at the very least, the FDA requires its alert be affixed to the labels of all fragrances released to market without full substantiation of safety.

Fragrances are made to be inhaled (smelled). I believe it is willful neglect to not fully test fragrances before marketing for adverse effects upon inhalation, for systemic effects, for their neurotoxicity and their effects upon reproduction and developing embryos and fetuses. I think it is extremely important to also study the effects of volatilizing fragrance chemicals upon nonusers. It is unconscionable to allow growing numbers of inadequately tested products on the market in the face of escalating adverse health events, and documentation of same. People need to learn what is in the products they so blindly trust with their lives. To learn more about fragrances, please visit EHN's section on Fragrance Info ( and also EHN's FDA petition 99P-1340 ( EHN's main researcher is advisory board member, Betty Bridges, RN. See her site at Fragranced Products Information Network at

Please keep the following in mind:


  • The industry is self-regulated and further protected by trade secret laws.


  • The FDA has not been given the authority by Congress. Other government agencies claim no authority, even when discussing fragrances in cleaning and maintenance products; they quickly point to the FDA as the "authority." (See 1938, above.)

    But, this is the perfect example of "Catch 22" and quickly leaves the consumer bereft of any help, because the FDA isn't the least concerned with scented cleaning and maintenance products, let alone fragrances used in cosmetics and personal care products, for which it calims "AUTHORITY." Congress hasn't rectified the situation by acting upon recommendations made over the years. THAT indicates to me that money and pressure from industry speaks louder than pleas for help from their constituents -- YOU and me. -- barb

1997 . . .

City of Oakland's ADA Programs Unit develops a brochure about Chemical Sensitivities.
It's in the AIR . . . Things UNseen . . . Take Care
City Manager's ADA Programs Unit
One Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 3rd Flr.
Oakland, CA 94612
510.238.4754 (voice)
510.238.2007 (TDD)

This brochure is also reproduced and distributed by EHN (with permission).

January 1997 . . . Common Indoor Air Pollutants
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Question: I have to write a report on pollution. Can you give me a list of common indoor air pollutants? Answer: A list of common indoor air pollutants would include the following: Combustion contaminants (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, environmental tobacco smoke); Biological pollutants (animal dander, molds, dust mites, bacteria); volatile organic compounds (formaldehyde, fragrance products, pesticides [emphasis added], solvents, cleaning agents); heavy metals (airborne lead, mercury vapor); and Radon.
Content Reviewed: January 1997 | Page updated: January 2004

March 3, 1997 . . . Hispanic Women Business & Industry Database "Survey finds US Hispanic women spend 43% more on fragrance products and 27% more on makeup than the average American woman." Original Title: COSMETICS MAKERS TARGETING HISPANIC MARKET Source: Miami Herald (FL), PG:N/A, March 03, 1997. ISSN: 0898-865X

June 2, 1997 . . . African-American Women Business & Industry Database Original Copyright 1997 Schnell Publishing "Study finds African-American women as a group are more than twice as likely as women of other races to buy fragrances." Original Title: Ethnic Fragrance Market Source: Chemical Marketing Reporter, VOL:251, ISS:22, PG:25, June 02, 1997. ISSN: 0090-0907 " Children, too, are targeted for sales by the fragrance industry (see March 14, 2001, below).If we look at these folks as "demographics" we see that those targeted for sales by the industry are the three groups of PEOPLE who exhibit the highest rates of asthma -- including "UNEXPLAINED" asthma. The above information from EHN's Statistics section at

Aug. 8, 1997 . . . San Francisco's Sustainability Plan adopted: Air Quality Circle. "Achieving and maintaining good air quality is crucial to the public health and economic vitality of San Francisco. " . . . "Many complex and interrelated factors affect indoor air quality. These factors involve the emission of odors, particulates, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs), and radon into the air. Examples of such factors include the outdoor air quality; emissions from construction, building materials, indoor occupant activities, building maintenance products, cleaning products, personal care products, and equipment (computers, copy machines, etc.); molds and mildew; building ventilation systems; radon emissions from below-grade rock; and environmental tobacco smoke."

Look up EHP's article on fragrance, Betty's response

Sept. 5, 1997 . . . STATEMENT OF SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY - FDA REFORM AND COSMETIC PREEMPTION "... [O]ur country's regulation of cosmetics as the fool's gold standard. ..." "... The FDA has no authority to require manufacturers to register their plants and products. It cannot require manufacturers to file data on the ingredients in their products. It cannot compel manufacturers to file reports on cosmetic-related industries. It cannot require that products be tested for safety or that the results of safety testing be made available to the agency. It does not have the right of access to manufacturers' records. It cannot even require recall of a product. ..." "... A study by the General Accounting Office reported that more than 125 ingredients used in cosmetics are suspected of causing cancer. Twenty cosmetic ingredients may cause adverse effects of the nervous system, including headaches, drowsiness, and convulsions. Twenty cosmetic ingredients are suspected of causing birth defects. The GAO concluded that "cosmetics are being marketed in the United States which may pose a serious hazard to the public." GAO also found that additional Federal authority is necessary to adequately protect the public. ..."

November - December 1997 . . . "Toxic effects of air freshener emissions." Rosalind Anderson Ph.D. and Julius Anderson M.D.-Ph.D. Archives of Environmental Health(1997) 52: 433-441. or:

1998 . . . Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Control of Factors Contributing to Asthma Severity. JAMA lists perfumes at the very end of its info on Asthma, but at least it is there, under "Indoor / Outdoor Pollutants and Irritants." JAMA states: "Other irritants (e.g., perfumes, cleaning agents, sprays)." When you read the word "irritant," think POISON. That definition is provided by my old Oxford Dictionary -- the FDA, EPA, CDC, et al., should think in terms of irritant in that way. In the meantime the public can demand safer products and better, more accurate labeling; make your needs known to the industry by purchasing safer, cleaner, fragrance-free products. They will listen. Until such time, the chemical fragrance industry will work hard to defeat legislation meant to protect YOU. Don't believe it? Check out the Fragrance Materials Association.

March - April 1998 . . . "Acute toxic effects of fragrance products." Author/s: Rosalind C. Anderson, Julius H. Anderson Archives of Environmental Health, 53: 138-146 (1998), Issue: March-April, 1998 Terms related to this article: Chemical sensitivity Multiple Physiological aspects Perfumes Health aspects PubMed And a brief look via the Anderson's website -

March 1998 . . . ALA and AMA: Fragrances DO Trigger Asthma! by Barb Wilkie. Information appearing in The New Reactor, Vol. 8, No. 2: March - April 1998. It came without fanfare. It came quietly into my computer; not over my radio, nor the television, certainly not with appropriate apologies from the infamous television reporter of "Junk Science." Nor did I read of this through the popular press. Just one day, there it was: Quietly sitting on a web page of the American Lung Association (ALA), waiting to be discovered. "Common Asthma Triggers ... Avoid perfume and perfumed cosmetics..." [emphasis, mine]. The last time I had checked there was no mention of fragrances as asthmatic triggers. Feeling a wave of encouragement, I decided to check web pages under the American Medical Association (AMA) and discovered -- "Discuss ways to reduce exposures to the following: ... Other irritants (e.g., perfumes, cleaning agents, sprays)" [emphasis, mine]. Vindicated! All of us! Oh to be sure, "discuss ways to reduce exposures" could mean another fifty years of pondering by the AMA, but with these published statements, we can move forward. ...

July 1, 1998 . . . Air Fresheners Really Air Polluters by Dean Edell (aka Dr. Dean). From a TV report, appearing on his HealthCentral. Had been available through now available through "DEAN EDELL, M.D. Breathe in, breathe out. What you're supposed to breathe is plain ole fresh air, not pollution - but not perfume either. So why do so many of us turn to air fresheners to freshen what is already fresh? Lots of folks put them in their kitchen, in their bath, and all over the house. Many even put them in their cars. ... "First of all, researchers say what air fresheners don't do, is improve air quality. In fact, fresheners don't even make odors disappear, they just make the nose less sensitive to bad smells by masking one smell with the other.... "Depending on the brand, fresheners can release camphor, alcohol, limonene and others which might be harmful when vaporized and breathed. Some contain more toxic chemicals like paradichlorobenzene - also used as a moth repellent - which is now so common it now turns up in trace amounts in almost all blood samples. åBut the real potential for harm is to people with asthma and other breathing problems. Experts say anyone with respiratory problems may want to avoid most air fresheners. Best advice? Try a little baking soda in the cat box or garbage can, otherwise maybe open a window and let the fresh air in.'" [Emphasis added.] "END NOTE The experts add, clean indoor air should not smell of anything. If it has a chronic stale, musty or strange smell, it could indicate a problem. "

December 1998 . . . Environmental Health Perspectives Scents and Sensitivity: Volume 106, December 12, November 1998

December 1998 . . . Fragrance-Reduction Resolution by SF Bay Chapter. of Sierra Club "98.12.01 Excessive Use of Fragrance Products in Public Places" Had been at: Now available via

1999 . . . "Gas chromatographic determination of synthetic musk compounds in Norwegian air samples" Kallenborn, R.; R. Gatermann; S. Planting; G. Rimkus; M. Lund; M. Schlabach; I.C. Burkow (1999). . Journal of Chromatography A 846: 295-306

March 24, 1999 . . . Toledo Blade Synthetic musk linked to environmental risks BY MICHAEL WOODS BLADE SCIENCE EDITOR [Excerpted] "ANAHEIM, Calif. - Synthetic fragrances used in perfumes, soaps, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, cosmetics, and scores of other consumer products have become a new and unexpected group of environmental contaminants, scientists said. "The chemicals are accumulating in human fat tissue, blood, breast milk, drinking water supplies, lakes and streams, fish and wildlife, and elsewhere in the environment, according to scientists interviewed here. They are presenting scientific reports at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society. " 'I think there is reason for public concern about possible effects of these fragrances,' said Dr. Sebastian Kevekordes of the University of Gottingen in Germany. "One compound, musk xylene, has carcinogenic, or cancer-causing, effects in laboratory mice, Dr. Kevekordes said. Another, musk ketone, damages genes in animal experiments and has other worrisome effects. "Many of the studies identifying synthetic musk compounds in human tissue and the environment have been done in Europe and Japan. Dr. Kevekordes said that synthetic musks are used just as widely, or more so, in the United States, where fragrances have been used even in trash bags and product packaging. ..."

Addicted to fragrances? April 1999 . . . PubMedQuery Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 1999 Apr;63(4):743-8 Potentiation of GABAA receptors expressed in Xenopus oocytes by perfume and phytoncid. Aoshima H, Hamamoto K Department of Physics, Biology and Informatics, Faculty of Science, Yamaguchi University, Japan. E-mail: " ... Since it is known that the potentiation of GABAA receptors by benzodiazepine, barbiturate, steroids and anesthetics induces the anxiolytic, anticonvulsant and sedative activity or anesthetic effect, these results suggest the possibility that the intake of perfume or phytoncid through the lungs, the skin or the intestines modulates the neural transmission in the brain through ionotropic GABAA receptors and changes the frame of the human mind, as alcohol or tobacco does." Or:

Fragrances of the World 2004 ã Parfums du Monde By Michael Edwards; 2004 Bi-lingual English-French "... This new edition matches 3,624 fragrances family by family. It includes over 600 new fragrances launched during 2002 and 2003. ..." Selections From The Fragrance Foundation Library

Know the FDA's own words: Ä Neither cosmetic products nor cosmetic ingredients are reviewed or approved by FDA before they are sold to the public. Ä FDA cannot require companies to do safety testing of their cosmetic products before marketing. What the FDA fails to carry out, is its next statement: Ä If, however, the safety of a cosmetic product has not been substantiated, the product's label must read "WARNING: The safety of this product has not been determined." Hence, EHN's FDA Citizens' Petition, filed May 11, 1999 -- assigned docket number 99P-1340

May 11, 1999 . . . The Environmental Health Network files a Citizens' Petition with the US Food and Drug Administration. See May 11, 1999, FDA Petition - Docket Number 99P-1340 includes analyses, FDA contact information and complementary information. (Betty Bridges is an EHN advisory board member, Amy Marsh was president at the time, and I was on the board of directors, however, I am now serving as President)

Analysis of Calvin Klein's Eternity eau de parfum purchased from a laboratory that is a member of RIFM (Research Institute for Fragrance Materials -- What you think you are buying: "A romantic floral fragrance. Freesia, mandarin and sage accent the top note which combines with muguet, white lily, marigold and narcissus from the white floral bouquet that is the middle note. Patchouli with exotic notes of sandalwood and amber complete the background." The Fragrance Foundation 2002 Reference Guide, page 185. Eternity was created by the Calvin Klein Cosmetics Company in 1988. UNILEVER COSMETICS INTERNATIONAL

What you are buying: "... [An] industry laboratory specializing in fragrance chemistry revealed 41 ingredients. These include some known to be toxic to the skin, respiratory tract, nervous, and reproductive systems, and others known to be carcinogens; no toxicity data are available on several ingredients, while data on most are inadequate. Additionally, some ingredients are volatile and a source of indoor air pollution. Since 1995, several consumers have complained to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of neurological and respiratory problems due to Eternity. ..." Taken from EHN press release, "Perfume: Cupid's Arrow or Poison Dart?" This petition [99P-1340] is still open, and accepting letters and documentation from the public. Interestingly, it has received very little mainstream media attention. Select just one method of communication with the FDA. YOUR letters or notes supporting 99P-1340 may be e-mailed, faxed or mailed to the FDA, but please, choose just one method to inform the FDA. You may write many times over. Email Address -- FAX Number -- 301.827.6870 Letters may be mailed to: Dockets Management Branch The Food and Drug Administration Department of Health and Human Services, Rm. 1-23 12420 Parklawn Dr. Rockville, MD 20857 A few letters in support of 99P-1340 that appear on EHN's site . . .

Includes Dr. Richard Conrad's, "What goes on the skin goes through the skin."

May 1999 . . . Provocations with perfume in the eyes induce airway symptoms in patients with sensory hyperreactivity. Allergy 1999 May;54(5):495-9 (ISSN: 0105-4538) Millqvist E; Bengtsson U; Lowhagen O [Find other articles with these Authors] Asthma and Allergy Centre, University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Sweden. "... CONCLUSIONS: Asthma-like and other symptoms, such as irritation of the eyes, may be induced by exposure of both the airways and the eyes in patients with sensory hyperreactivity. This points to the importance of studying the sensory nervous system, not only in the airways, but also in other organs."

May 1999 . . . The Coastal Post "Do Fabric Softeners Cause Crib Death?" By Carol Sterritt "Crib death, or sudden infant death syndrome, remains one of modern life's greatest mysteries, as well as every new parent's greatest fear. Here in Marin, a woman named Julia Kendall coped with her own multiple chemical sensitivities by extensively researching the components of many commercial products. By the time of her death, Kendall had come to believe that fabric softeners might be the kiss of death for some infants, rather than the cuddly "Snuggles" of sweetly fragranced, pot-bellied bears portrayed in soap ads. ... "

July 1999 . . . Environmental Health Perspectives; Volume 107, Number 7 Fragrances and Health By Betty Bridges, RN, Fragranced Products Information Network " ... When types of substances used by the fragrance industry are used in other industries, they are heavily regulated because of their known health effects. Whereas these substances are generally used at low levels in fragrance materials, the sheer numbers of fragranced products used and the constant exposure causes concern, especially in children. In addition, many of the materials have synergistic effects that cannot be ignored. A much more prudent course of action would be to gather reliable data, do further safety testing, pinpoint the substances causing problems, and eliminate them from use. Further information can be found at the web site of the Fragranced Products Information Network at

JUL 16 ,1999 . . .Answers to Stakeholders' Questions - FOODS (accessed June 2004) Q. Inhalation of fragranced products is known to trigger asthma and migraine headaches in some individuals. The EPA names "the use of chemically formulated personal care products" along with pesticides and household cleaners as contributors to indoor air pollution. How do you propose to raise public awareness of possible health risks from use of these products?

A. FDA has little or no information that would support actions to raise public awareness of possible health risks associated with the use of fragranced products. Current regulations do require that products that contain added fragrance ingredients must be labeled in the product ingredient statement as containing "fragrance." FDA is aware of concern about this issue and encourages continued participation by its stakeholders in gathering data to address the possible health risks associated with the use of fragranced products. FDA is committed to fostering such participation by its continued sponsorship of stakeholder outreach initiatives, e.g. public meetings. These public forums not only provide interested persons with an opportunity to comment on the potential health risks associated with fragranced products, but also help identify possible solutions to address these risks. 2000

Jan. 14, 2000 . . . SC Johnson Voluntarily Removing AllerCare* Products From Shelf Fragrance Too Strong for People with Severe Allergies and Asthma "JANUARY 14, 2000 (RACINE, WISCONSIN)...... SC Johnson has advised retail stores across the country to remove AllerCare* Dust Mite Carpet Powder and AllerCare* Dust Mite Allergen Spray from store shelves. "The company's decision came following an analysis of phone inquiries and reports into its toll-free consumer help line. The analysis revealed a number of consumers, particularly those with severe allergies and asthma, had reported concerns and reactions related to the level of fragrance in the products. [Emphasis added.] While the vast majority of consumers, over 99% of those who purchased. AllerCare*, were well satisfied with these convenient and affordable home allergen control products, the level of dissatisfaction was such that the products do not meet the high standards of the company. "The company has reported these findings to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who is aware of and supports this voluntary action. "Dust mites are the #1 indoor allergen, a key factor in the rise in childhood asthma. AllerCare* products were a welcomed alternative to the costly removal of carpet or upholstery which doctors recommended to help reduce allergen exposure in the homes. The products were nearly ten years in development, and used in tens of thousands of homes the year before launch with no indication that fragrance was an issue. Extensive product efficacy and product safety testing conducted on AllerCare* far exceeded the norm for SC Johnson or other household products. However, following national introduction, a small subset of the population (less than 1%)* with uniquely high sensitivities, particularly among those with severe allergies and asthma, was detected. Unfortunately, the company could not separate these highly sensitive consumers, who should not use these products, from the general allergy-suffering public for whom the products were designed. Hence, the company felt that the appropriate action was to remove these products from store shelves. "Consumers are being asked to contact the company directly toll-free at 1-877-255-3722 with any questions. If a consumer has purchased AllerCare* products and suffers from severe allergies and asthma, as with any other household product, they should consult their physician before use.

* Note: I am suspect of information linking such a very small subset of the population with high sensitivities. I find fault because there is no effort to look at the vast number of people who, because of recognized pesticide and fragrance sensitization, are smart enough to not even try such a product. IF we even enter stores that carry scented products, we certainly avoid the aisles where they are shelved and we sure do not spend our money on them to bring them into our homes to further poison ourselves and our family with fragrance or pesticide chemicals. Those stores that great us with escaping fragrance gases upon opening a door, are not even entered. Dust mites have been around a lot longer than petrochemical-derived fragrances, and pesticides. Keep your home clean with truly fragrance-free products. Keep the areas dry. Enjoy air flow. And if you follow this simple advice, then please don't live in fear of the dreaded dust mite . . . it is one of those pesticide and other scented products selling opportunities that lead to your real health problems. Perfumed products pollute the air,YOUR body, and the water.

TGSC Material Safety Data Sheet for BENZYL BENZOATE FCC -- fragrance ingredient in AllerCare The Good Scents Company

About /Allergies AllerCareÅ Product Recall Dateline: 01/17/00 "... Although less than 0.5 percent of people** who used these products have reported problems, Cynthia Georgeson, the SC Johnson spokesperson said, åUnfortunately, the company could not separate these highly sensitive consumers, who should not use these products, from the general allergy-suffering public for whom the products were designed.' "The adverse reactions that were reported included runny noses, watery eyes, throat irritation, breathing problems among asthmatics, and a burning sensation of the skin. ..." ** Interesting how the percentage of people adversely affected by scented AllerCareÅ drops in this article. The fact remains the same, fragrances cause, trigger and exacerbate asthma. The clues are here; the FDA and the mainstrema medical industry have seeminly bowed in favor of industry rather than public health. The flavors and fragrance industry and the pharmaceutical industry make out like bandits as public health tanks. Remember the adage: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Only YOU can do something about poisoning your body, your air and the water downstream. STOP buying products containing petrochemically derived fragrances until the flavors and fragrance industry and the FDA can show us that these products are safe for the user . . . and everyone who comes in contact with the user.

Jan. 19, 2000 Contacts: Neil Tickner, Media Relations Officer Jennifer Cavendish, Media Relations Assistant (202) 334-2138; e-mail Institute of Medicine FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Study Finds Strong Evidence That Exposure to Some Indoor Substances Can Lead to or Worsen Asthma "For biologic or chemical contaminants that could worsen asthma symptoms, limited or suggestive evidence exists regarding exposure to material shed by domestic birds; certain types of pneumonia and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV); secondhand tobacco smoke in older children and adults; formaldehyde fumes from furniture and building materials; and fragrances in personal care and household products. ..." [Emphasis added. ] Notice that fragrances and secondhand tobacco smoke are both mentioned in this paragraph. Why is it that fragrance products are routinely ignored when entities list common asthma triggers? Who benefits? Not the public! Try checking the bottom line of the flavors and fragrance industry and the pharmaceutical industry. There you will find the benefactors of our health complaints being ignored, or at best marginalized. It is time for a change!

Feb 4, 2000 Perfume: Cupid's Arrow or Poison Dart? Released jointly by Dr. Samuel Epstein of Cancer Prevention Coalition and EHN. Some say a popular perfume is a health danger!! "Perfumes and colognes are always a hot gift for special occasions. But not for people who are allergic to fragrances!! ... "Fragrances are a billion dollar industry in the United States alone. But they are not for everyone. Judith Sanderson, Teacher, åIt feels like fire in the upper ridges of my nose. And I also have laryngitis. If I have a day with a lot of cologne, my voice is affected.' High school teacher, Judith Sanderson says she's allergic. She says she physically cannot tolerate perfumes and colognes. åEven in the outdoor mall in Century City, it's so fragrant now, so many stores blowing it into the air to attract customers, that I've been pretty well shut out.' Sanderson is also part of a group calling itself the Environmental Health Network. It's the group demanding a warning label on Eternity perfume for women. That group believes all perfumes contain dangerous chemicals. They've begun their campaign by commissioning a lab analysis of Eternity. They intend, with time, to analyze other perfumes. To date, Eternity is the only one they've had tested. In their petition to the FDA, the group says more than twenty ingredients in Eternity have not adequately been tested for safety on humans. After contacting Calvin Klein for a response to the petition that the group filled with the FDA the company had this statement: åAll of Calvin Klein's products meet or exceed the requirement of the Federal Public Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act.' The article goes on with some real industry bias demonstrated by an allergist. . . . "Dr. Jacob Offenberger is an Allergist; 'No manufacturer would like to sell any product that has real toxins in it or real irritants in it because it won't sell.' Dr. Jacob Offenberger is spokesperson for the Asthma Foundation of America. He says some people are just sensitive to perfume chemicals....and they are blowing this issue out of proportion. ..." With someone like that working on behalf of asthmatics, doesn't that start to give a clue as to why there are "unexplained" skyrocketing rates of asthma that march in time with the proliferation of perfumed products? Also, I beg to differ with Dr. Offenberger based on personal experience. He should try breathing in, day in and day out, the number of fragrances and the types of heavy scents I was subjected to in the workplace. THEN, I'd like his opinion. And, by the bye, EHN is not just "a group," but a non-profit organization. April 14, 2000 . . . Fragrances and Aromatic Substances should not be used indiscriminately indoors Statement of the Committee on "Indoor Air Hygiene" concerning the use of scents and aromatic substances "...Every user of aromatic substances should be aware of the fact that by using them additional chemical compounds are added to the pollutants which are present in the air anyway and on which often only limited influence can be taken. This goes directly against the basic recommendation to keep the concentration of avoidable airborne substances as low as possible indoors also which is aimed at reducing the likelihood of detrimental effects on health for reasons of prevention. ..." Archive Index for year 2000: 04/14/00 -- 14/00, also available as "mirrored" with permission by EHN at June 20, 2000 . . . Halifax, site of the Fragrance industry's stand. See "Another Perspective: Press Releases and Statements regarding the fragrance industry's press conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia" at July 26, 2000 . . . US Access Board develops fragrance-free policy for their meetings -- "[U.S. Access] Board Adopts Policy to Promote Fragrance-Free Environments" "... While many questions are yet to be answered, the Board believes in doing what it can where it can. As a result, the Board has adopted a policy for its meetings and public gatherings that will help reduce exposure to personal fragrances. Under this policy, the Board requests that all participants refrain from wearing perfume, cologne and other fragrances, and use unscented personal care products in order to promote a fragrance-free environment. ..." "Access Board Adopts Fragrance Free Policy; Strong Recommendations for Future Action on MCS for FY 2001" Contact: Mary Lamielle, Executive Director "VOORHEES, NJ; July 26, 2000 -- On July 26 the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, the "Access Board," voted to adopt a Fragrance-Free Policy for Board Meetings and public meeting places where the board holds meetings. Beginning with the September 2000 board meeting, announcements in the Federal Register* will include the statement that persons attending the board meeting are requested to refrain from wearing perfume, cologne, and other fragrances for the comfort of participants. Hotels used by the Access Board will be asked to accommodate the needs of the chemically sensitive to the extent feasible. . . ." Sept. 21, 2000 -- SNIFF (Safe Notification and Information For Fragrances act): Thanks to leading efforts of her constituent, Lynn Lawson, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D IL) authored and introduced SNIFF in the 106th Congress, 2d Session, bill number: H. R. 5238; Co-sponsor: Rep Shelley Berkley (D NV) 2000 . . . GreenPeace UK -- Perfumes and other commonly used products analyzed. This information is part of their "The Chemical House" section. 2001 Jan. 13, 2001 . . . Seattle's English Country Ball and their Fragrance-Free Policy More fragrance-free information available on EHN's Fragrance-Free -- Take Heart! -- (Note: is the domain name, which [now goes] redirects to March 14, 2001 . . . THINK TANK #5Ì "CHILDREN'S SCENTS: A NEW PROFIT CENTER" Wednesday, March 14, 2001 8:30 a.m. Breakfast Buffet 9:00 a.m. Presentation Conference Centre at The Fragrance Foundation or [PDF] 'Making Scents of Teens & Fragrance' And, for an interesting juxtaposition . . . Danish Environment's "Perfume Causes Allergies" See sections: "Children should keep away from perfume" and "Increasing frequency of perfume allergy among eczema patients" The above information from EHN's Statistics section at March 26, 2001 . . . Public television aired a groundbreaking investigative report on the chemical industry "In TRADE SECRETS: A MOYERS REPORT correspondent Bill Moyers and producer Sherry Jones uncover how our health and safety have been put at risk and why powerful forces don't want the truth to be known. This investigative report, accompanied by a Web site, is based on a massive archive of secret industry documents as shocking as the åtobacco papers.'" For information on alternatives, go to . . . Options at YOUR Right to Know -- Protecting Yourself -- When visiting this page, go to the box labeled Bathroom, pull down the window to select, "Bathroom." There you will read the following, which includes a link to the site of my friend and colleague, Betty Bridges, RN. "Because it is impossible to know the identity of fragrance ingredients - and therefore to evaluate their potential effects on human health - you may choose to use soaps and lotions that are fragrance free. "Scents & Sensitivity "Fragrance Info Network" [Betty's site is now best accessed through her domain,] April 2001FDA on Phthalates -- Phthalates and Cosmetic Products

Excerpted: " ... How do I know if there are phthalates in the cosmetics I use?

"Under the authority of the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), FDA requires an
ingredient declaration on the cosmetic products sold at the retail level to consumers.
Consumers can tell whether some products contain phthalates by reading the ingredient
declaration on the labels of such products.

"However, the regulations do not require the listing of the individual fragrance
ingredients; therefore, the consumer will not be able to determine from the ingredient
declaration if phthalates are present in a fragrance. Also, because the FPLA does not
apply to products used exclusively by professionals--for example, in salons--the
requirement for an ingredient declaration does not apply to these products. ..."

May 7, 2001 . . . (EPA's airfresh.htm) AIR FRESHENERS "Air fresheners work in one of the following four ways: by interfering with your ability to smell by way of a nerve-deadening agent; by coating your nasal passages with an undetectable oil film; by covering up one smell with another; and (rarely) by breaking down the offensive odor. Despite their name, air fresheners do little to freshen the air. Aerosol fresheners can be harmful to lungs if inhaled in high concentrations or for prolonged periods of time. Solid fresheners may be poisonous if eaten by children or pets. "Use: If freshener is in aerosol form, do not breathe fumes. Avoid skin contact. Use only in well-ventilated areas. ... "... Alternatives: There are several nontoxic ways to freshen the air in your home. May 22, 2001 . . . SNIFF (HR 1947)., authored by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), re-introduced in the House, 107th Congress. SNIFF was co-sponsored by Rep. Shelley Berkley (D NV) and by Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA).) (Note 2003-2004: SNIFF -- Awaiting re-introduction into the 108th Congress. More information at August 2001 . . . Aroma Chemicals and the Flavor & Fragrance Industry
By Laszlo Somogyi with Akihiro Kishi
CEH Report. SRI Consulting
Published August 2001
"In 2000, the worldwide flavor and fragrance business, including sales of compounded flavor and fragrance compositions and essential oils, was valued at almost $14 billion, representing a 4.0% compounded yearly growth rate since 1997. Production of aroma chemicals, calculated from estimates of supply/demand by major geographic region, accounted for $1.8 billion of the total value.

"Since 1996, demand for aroma chemicals has grown almost 2.7% per year (in constant dollars), with consumption valued at an estimated $1.7 billion in 2000. ..."
"... While production of aroma chemicals is virtually impossible to assess precisely because of the large number of chemicals involved in a highly complex web of international trading, consumption is estimated to vary significantly worldwide, by geographic area as well as by product category. In 2000, the United States and Western Europe together accounted for over 70% of the value of all aroma chemicals and over 90% of the value of musk chemicals consumed in flavor and fragrance compositions. These high ratios also characterize the estimated consumption of aroma chemicals for 2000.

"In 1996-2000, consumption of aroma chemicals in Europe increased at an annual rate of about 6.8% in value. This impressive growth may be contributed to the opening of Eastern European markets, which presented good opportunities for European suppliers. In Japan, consumption of synthetic aroma chemicals has declined because regulations favor products from natural sources. Synthetic aroma chemicals are used in less than 25% of compounded products. Other Far Eastern markets, especially China, have experienced above-average demand growth since 1996, albeit from a much smaller base than either the United States or Western Europe. Export values increased in China because of the large expansion of production facilities by global producers of aroma chemicals. ..."

September 14, 2001 . . . Occupational Acute Anaphylactic Reaction to Assault by Perfume Spray in the Face by James E. Lessenger, MD, From a private practice. [J Am Board Fam Pract 14(2):137-140, 2001. © 2001 American Board of Family Practice] 2001 . . . CHRONOLOGY OF FRAGRANCE INTRODUCTIONS Fragrance launches by name: 2001, 2002 . . . Fast Food Nation By Eric Schlosser; Perennial; "Portions of this book first appeared in Rolling Stone. Edited excerpts available through The Guardian, UK, via at From page 122 of Fast Food Nation - The Dark Side of the All-American Meal "In addition to being the world's largest flavor company, IFF manufactures the smell of six of the ten best-selling fine perfumes in the United States, including EstÈe Lauder's Beautiful, Clinique's Happy, Lancome's TrÈsor, and Calvin Klein's Eternity. It also makes the smell of household products such as deodorant, dishwashing detergent, bath soap, shampoo, furniture polish, and floor wax. All of these aromas are made through the same basic process: the manipulation of volatile chemicals to create a particular smell. The basic science behind the scent of your shaving cream is the same as that governing the flavor of your TV dinner." 2001 - 2003 . . . Date unknown. Based on work of the Janitorial Products Pollution Prevention Project, the US Department of the Interior has laid guidelines for "green" cleaning. Guidance and Training on Greening Your Janitorial Business CHAPTER 2: Traditional Versus "Green" Cleaning Products Green products: Ä "Must not contain any carcinogens, mutagens, or teratogens designated by federal law. Ä "Must not contain any ozone-depleting compounds, greenhouse gases, or substances that contribute to photochemical smog and poor indoor air quality. ... and also, Ä "Must not contain petrochemical-derived fragrances." 2002 Jan. 15, 2002 . . . Berkeley, California "Change can happen!" The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to change the wording that had been adopted under pressure from the fragrance industry in 1996. Then Mayor Shirley Dean wrote on Jan. 15, 2002: "I am pleased to inform you that at the Council meeting of January 15, 2002, the following language was moved by Councilmember Betty Olds and approved unanimously by the Council: åThe City Council requests that people refrain from wearing scented products to the meetings.' "This new language will start appearing immediately on all notices of meetings held by the City." Feb. 6, 2002 . . . "Scents and sensitivities - What to know before buying a Valentine's Day perfume" By Francesca Lyman; MSNBC Contributor; Feb. 6, 2002 Mirrored on EHN with the kind permission of Ms. Lyman and MSNBC. The last paragraph: "In response to the perceived problems of fragrances in the air, Roberts says that his industry group has begun the first study to examine fragrance inhalation. 'We're spending a lot of money on this,' he says, 'to understand the systemic effects of fragrances on organs and nervous system, what happens when fragrances are inhaled.' " [Glenn Roberts, spokesperson for the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials.] Opinion: Note the year: 2002. The major changes in fragrance formulations, from mostly plant and animal essences to those derived mostly from petrochemicals, got underway three decades ago. Yet the industry states in 2002 that it has "begun the first study to examine fragrance inhalation." This is the same industry that assures us all of its products are thoroughly tested and also states that chemicals in such low levels are safe. Of course the industry also throws in the directive to use according to direction, while at the same time giving tips for layering up fragrances -- from toe to head and weakest to strongest -- and also spraying the air to let the scent settle over you. March 16, 2002 . . . Washington Post Obituaries: Saturday, Page B Samantha Snyder Turner, Nurse Practitioner " Samantha Turner, 52, a nurse practitioner who specialized in obstetrics and gynecology for the Kaiser Permanente HMO in Reston, died Feb. 28 at Inova Fairfax Hospital. She died of complications from an allergic reaction to perfume." Other death information available from

May 29, 2002 . . . Poison for Profit - What A Business Plan! By Ashley Simmons Hotz "...The same chemical companies that produce toxic chemicals also produce prescription drugs, veterinary medicines, a wide array of medical products and imaging technologies, hold cancer treatment and medical device patents, and a produce a staggering assortment of over-the-counter palliatives. . . . "... Did you know that thousands of toxic chemicals are impregnated into products that we come in intimate contact with every day that have woefully inadequate testing? Synthetic chemicals are found in clothing, furniture, bedding, paper, food storage containers, building materials, pillow feathers, pillow covers, inks, mattresses, food, cosmetics, carbonless paper, fragrances, and tampons. A wide variety of fat soluble pesticides are even impregnated into animal feed (fat soluble means it stores in fat). ..." And an added thought: The next time your mainstream medical doctor tells you this illness is all in your head because you even react to pharmaceuticals, please remind -- or inform -- your doctor that the drugs s/he is prescribing are derived from petrochemicals. Not only that, the drugs are quite likely to carry petrochemically derived flavors and fragrances. Oh yes, they are often dyed, too. No wonder there are roughly 100,000 per year hospital deaths due to prescribed drugs . . . Where are the stats for those maimed by drugs; for those killed by drugs not in a hospital setting???? By the bye, the name for doctor-induced illness, injury and premature death is Iatrogenesis. -- barb July 4, 2002 . . .Are Your Beauty Products Killing You? By Matt Wheeland, AlterNet. Posted July 4, 2002. July 10, 2002 . . . Not Too Pretty -- report on phthalates (commonly added to fragrances to make the scents last) at NTP's Press Room; Aug. 15, 2002 . . . Environment News Service (ENS) 2002 -- "Labeling Cosmetics May Help Prevent Cancers" "CHICAGO, Illinois, August 15, 2002 (ENS) - It's a right-to-know issue. Women who are sensitive to chemicals should have the benefit of warning labels on their cosmetics identifying those chemicals, say six environmental groups and Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition. August 15, 2002 . . . Ascribe - Groups Call for Labeling of Cosmetics and Toiletries, Citing Cancer and Other Health Risks See more information on Dr. Epstein's site: Fall 2002 . . . "Fragrance: Emerging Health and Environmental Concerns" by Betty Bridges, RN; appearing in the industry's Flavours and Fragrance Journal -- Sept. 2002 . . . The Hidden Life Of ... Laundry By Chris Borris; Sierra Magazine "Ah, clean! Fresh-smelling towels, chubby-cheeked cherubs snuggling into soft blankets that have been lovingly bathed in chlorine, benzene, formaldehyde . . . what?! That's not part of the image, but it is the reality for the 99.8 percent of Americans who use common commercial detergents, fabric softeners, bleaches, and stain removers. Plus doing our laundry burns through hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil and sends millions of pounds of chlorine into our air and water each year. "But we don't have to put our healthãor the environmentãat risk to get our clothes brighter and whiter. Recipes for homemade greener cleaners abound, and nontoxic, eco-friendly laundry products are no longer rare. Looking for the best of the conventional brands, on the other hand, isn't always easy. Cleaning-product ingredients are considered "trade secrets," so manufacturers aren't required to list all of them on the label. "(Environmentally friendly brands often do list ingredients, since they have nothing to hide.) ..." Sept. 17, 2002 . . . A COMMON FRAGRANCE COMPONENT INCREASES AIRWAY RESPONSIVENESS AFTER SKIN SENSITISATION "... In summary, the results show that commonly used fragrance components can decrease lung function and sensitise the skin on contact and thereby also induce increased lung sensitivity. "It is important to note that the perfume components of many products that act as contact sensitisers of the skin can also cause hyperreactivity of the lung. Since multiple chemical sensitivity is an increasing problem in today's society, the authors hope that the results of their study will help reducing use of fragrances in consumer products and thus help people suffering from asthma and unspecific reactions. ABSTRACT NO: 3194 ORIGINAL ABSTRACT TITLE AND AUTHORS: A common fragrance component, 3‚carene, increases airway responsiveness after skin sensitisation - a study in isolated guinea pig lungs L. Lastbom, A. Boman, S. Johnsson, P. Camner, A. Ryrfeldt CONTACT PERSON: Lena Lastbom Division of Inhalation Toxicology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet Stockholm, Sweden Tel: +46 8 728 7570 Fax: +46 8 30 33 90 Email: Brought to you by the European Respiratory Society -- October 22, 2002 . . . Sweet Smell of Excess; The Ecologist by Jeremy Smith; " ... It has been said that humanity has three main needs ‚ security, stimulus and identity. What effect on these are we having as we manipulate our most instinctive and discerning sense? We live in an age of insecurity, where we do not trust our neighbour and are unable to smell whether they are friend or foe. We are obsessed by the need for short-term stimulus, drenching ourselves in cheap and toxic perfumes and soaking our anaemic food in artificial smells. And as we scrub away our own natural odours, preferring to smell of Poison or Escape, might we not be losing our sense of identity too? " October 28, 2002 . . . American Lung Association (ALA) The Weekly Breather "Scents and Sensibilities" - According to the October 28, 2002 issue of MSNBC online, experts are finding that certain perfume fragrances and their chemical components may trigger allergic responses for people with asthma, rhinitis, allergies, dermatitis or a growing range of chemical sensitivities. According to the article, allergists, dermatologists, and pulmonary specialists assert that a growing number of patients are suffering from sensitivities to fragrances. The article also points out that about 95 percent of perfume ingredients are not composed of flower essences or natural products as people generally think, but rather, are synthesized from petrochemicals, which give off volatile organic compounds, i.e., vapors emitted from compounds like solvents, wood preservatives, and paint strippers, which according to the EPA, may produce eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, and damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. The article also discusses the effects of certain fragrances on people with asthma. For the entire article: . [Now available, with permission, at] October 31, 2002 . . . MMW Fortschr Med. 2002 Oct 31;144(44):14. [Hazardous pleasant odors. Scented substances cause asthma in asthma patients] [Article in German] [No authors listed] PMID: 12494591 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] November 3, 2002 . . . The Breathe EasyÆ / Asthma Digest (email newsletter of the ALA) "PERFUMES MAY BE COMPROMISING LUNG HEALTH, ESPECIALLY FOR PEOPLE WITH ASTHMA" OCTOBER 2002 The October 28, 2002 website featured an article that described how perfumes and fragrances present in soaps and other personal hygiene products may trigger allergies and irritation, especially for those who suffer from asthma, rhinitis, and dermatitis. The article cites allergy, dermatology, and pulmonary experts who asset that a growing number of patients are suffering from such sensitivities to fragrances. In light of this, the New York Committee on Occupational Health and Safety (NYCOSH) has stated that wearing perfume at the workplace or in closed in spaces may pose health problems for the wearer and those around them. According to the article, the fragrance industry is responding to these concerns by implementing more stringent testing of their products before they are marketed to the public. The article also points out that whereas perfumes were once distilled from flower essences, many of those now being manufactured are complex mixtures of botanical- or animal-derived materials and synthetic chemicals. In addition, about 90% of perfume ingredients are not composed of flower essences or natural products, but are synthesized from petrochemicals, which emit volatile organic compounds or "VOCs." According to the EPA, VOCs may produce eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, loss of coordination, damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system, and some are believed to be carcinogen. The article points out that the incidence of respiratory sensitivity to fragrances is on the rise, which raises health concerns for people with respiratory illnesses, especially asthma. Although it asserts that most perfumes do not pose immediate danger for people with asthma, some ingredients may trigger asthma attacks since perfumes contain many potentially allergenic ingredients that can add to other irritants, such as tobacco smoke or exhaust fumes. The article reports that the Environmental Health Network, and advocacy group based in California, has petitioned the government to require that products which have not been adequately tested carry warning labels. Since the petition was filed, more than one thousand consumers with health problems associated with exposure to fragrances have written to the FDA in support of the petition; however, to date, the FDA has not put forth a public response. For the entire article: [Now available, with permission, at] "This digest is brought to you by the American Lung AssociationÆ, engaged in a mission to prevent lung disease and promote lung health for close to 100 years. New on "(While ALA hints this info is available on their website, several of us were not able to find it, hence I've pasted it in here.) December 2002 . . . Children's Health Environmental Coalition -- "Fragrances in Cleaning Products, Fabric Softeners and Laundry Detergents" by Pamela Lundquist "What does clean smell like? Many of us would say, lemony or pine-scented or floral. These are the scents used by manufacturers to make their cleaners smell pleasant rather than like their chemical ingredients. Fabric softeners and laundry detergents are among the most highly scented products, imparting fragrance to clothing and other laundry. But nearly all other cleaners, including dishwashing liquids, floor cleaners, furniture polish and bathroom cleaners, typically contain fragrance, too. "While these scents may seem natural, in most cases they are created using complex blends of chemicals that can cause health effects. During use, fragrance and other chemicals can "volatilize," or become airborne and are easily inhaled. What's more, residues from laundry products remain on clothing and linens after washing. These residues can be inhaled or can irritate skin. ..." 2002 . . . CHRONOLOGY OF FRAGRANCE INTRODUCTIONS Fragrance launches by name: I counted 63 scents launched for women in 2002 and 28 for men. I invite you to go to the website and do your own counting to double check my tally. With men wearing more perfume, will we be seeing a rise in men's breast cancer? Will men be subjected to high-dose radiation of mammograms? By the bye, my personal belief is if you want a baseline test, seek thermography instead of mammograms. There's more info available on EHN's site and the Internet in general. 2003 . . . March 2003 . . . Breathing Better: Action Plans Keep Asthma in Check FDA Consumer magazine; March-April 2003 Issue; Pub No. FDA 04-1302 "...Common asthma triggers include dust, pollen, cockroaches, cold air, smoke, and other strong odors, such as paint, cleaning fluids, perfume, hair spray, and powder. ..." [Emphasis added.] It was a high note to find the above mention of fragrance as an asthma trigger, for it is this same FDA that brought the public the following information, located at the bottom of its page on food; July 16, 1999. Interestingly, by that date, July 16, 1999, the FDA had already heard from a goodly number of people who had written in support of EHN's Citizens' Petition 99P-1340, outlining the adverse events suffered because of the volatilizing, inadequately tested chemicals used to make modern perfumes. March 9, 2003 . . . Chemicals in Home a Big Smog Source
by Gary Polakovic, Los Angeles Times
"... The offending items include detergents, cleaning compounds, glues, polishes, floor finishes,
cosmetics, perfume, antiperspirants, rubbing alcohol, room fresheners, car wax, paint and lawn care products. [Emphasis added.]

"On a typical day, about 108 tons of smog-forming fumes are emitted from such products used in houses and small businesses in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The South Coast Air Quality Management District released those estimates last month as part of a new comprehensive plan to cut smog and haze in the region. [Emphasis added.]

"Consumer products send out nearly twice as many hydrocarbons -- a key precursor to ozone -- as all of the SUVs and light trucks operating in California. [Emphasis added.]

"Across the L.A. region, household chemicals produce nearly three times more smog-forming compounds than all of the factories in the area and five times more than gasoline stations, according to air-quality officials. . . . [Emphasis added.]

April 7, 2003 . . . Health Care Without Harm
Pesticides, Fragrances, Cleaners & Disinfectants

Full disclosure: Betty Bridges and I were part of the team working on fragrances, cleaners,
and disinfectants. Betty hadn't yet become a member for the work on pesticides. -- barb

Fragrances --
" ... Exposure to fragrance chemicals can cause headaches; eye, nose, and throat irritation; nausea; forgetfulness; loss of coordination, and other respiratory and/or neurotoxic symptoms. Many fragrance ingredients are respiratory irritants and sensitizers, which can trigger asthma attacks and aggravate sinus conditions.

"Fragrance chemicals are the number one cause of allergic reactions to cosmetics -- not only to the primary users, but also to those who breathe in the chemicals as secondhand users. Phthalates in fragrances are known to disrupt hormones and are linked in animal studies to malformations of the penis, as well as adverse effects on the developing testes. ..."

May 3, 2003 . . . "Shutesbury tries tri-seating" NO fragrances ever, fragrances some time but not tonight and, Whoops! I forgot and wore scents tonight. Published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette Fragrance-Free Zone SHUTESBURY, Mass. - People who attend Shutesbury's upcoming town meeting will be segregated by scent to avoid disturbing those hypersensitive to chemicals and odors. Splitting the meeting hall into three sections May 3 is part of a two-year-long effort that also has produced "fragrance-free" hours at the library. One section of the room will be reserved for people who never use perfumes or scented deodorants, detergents or other products. The second will be for those who sometimes wear fragrance but not on the day of the meeting, and the third will be labeled, "Seating for those who forgot and used cologne and perfume." Other cities have asked their residents to attend meetings free of scented products. For more information see EHN's Take Heart! / Cities at From the city of Shutesbury: What is Fragrance Free, anyway? FAQ About Fragrances Ziporah Hildebrandt, Chair, ADA Committee Excerpted from information,following an extensive Q&A section: Help keep Monday morning fragrance free at the library Ziporah Hildebrandt, Chair, ADA Committee Recent visitors to the Spear Library on Monday mornings have seen a new sign announcing Fragrance Free Hours. This sign lists products that are strictly barred from the library from 10:30-noon, so that patrons disabled with severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) can enter the building. These community members can be seriously affected with severe pain, fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, respiratory distress and other symptoms from just one whiff of many chemicalsãeven "natural" products. ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ The ADA Committee requests that the community offer maximum support from patrons who use the library at this time. Strict adherence to the requirements of the Fragrance Free Hours are necessary for the health and safety of disabled residents of Shutesbury, and their right to access library services. If Fragrance Free Hours do not receive the voluntary cooperation of every patron, other measures (translation: expensive accommodations) will be necessary to ensure that disabled people have access to library services. Fragrance Free Hours have been carefully thought out and developed for over a year. They are the least expensive, most workable, and best way to create access to library services for people disabled with MCS. This solution requires your help to work. June 2003 . . . American Journal of Nursing - June, 2003 - Volume 103, Issue 6 Scent of a Workplace - Fragrances are a major source of indoor air pollution. By Peggy Wolff, MS, APRN, HNC " ... Symptoms of exposure to the chemicals in fragrances vary greatly. Minor problems include eye, nose, and throat irritation; dry, cracking skin; rashes; and mild headaches. Some of the more serious health concerns are migraine headaches, allergies, vertigo, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, blood pressure changes, central and peripheral nervous system changes, and difficulty breathing. "Fragrances in personal care, laundry, and cleaning products are volatile synthetic compounds made from petroleum products and may contain hazardous waste‚disposal chemicals such as toluene and ethanol. Other chemicals employed in fragrance manufacturing, such as phthalates (a family of industrial chemicals used to make plastics, like PVC, and solvents), are suspected hormone disrupters. In an article in the Massachusetts Association for the Chemically Injured, Susan Wilburn, a specialist for occupational safety and health for the ANA, wrote that the ANA's research found that many perfumes contain preservatives as well as pesticides, which are added to fragrances to repel insects. ..." June 1, 2003 . . . Cosmetics and breast cancer By James Coleman, PhD Cancer Research Center of America, Inc. See more information on Dr. Coleman's site

July 22, 2003 . . . Scented Products: An overlooked source of indoor air pollution
Betty Bridges Fragranced Products Information Network Presented at the EPA/Air & Waste Management Conference Indoor Air Quality Problems and Engineering Solutions This document (including references) can be accessed at:
California Air Resources Board on the impact of scented products on air quality.

Sept. 6, 2003 . . . Organic Consumers Association "...Statement of Charlotte Brody, RN
Executive Director, Health Care Without Harm speaking on behalf of the Campaign for Poison Free Beauty Products "... A little more than a year ago, Health Care Without Harm, Women's Voices for the Earth and the Environmental Working Group partnered in testing the most popular deodorants, hair products, fragrances, lotions for the presence of chemicals that can cause birth defects. We found that 72 percent of the products we tested had one or more phthalates-a group of chemicals that animal studies show can harm the testes of the developing male. Many nail polishes also have one of the most dangerous phthalates, DBP which is now being banned in the European Union. "Poison, the aptly named perfume by Christian Dior, had more phthalates than any other product tested. ..." Sept. 7, 2003 . . . New York Times WHAT THEY WERE THINKING Julianna Martin, 25, Syracuse, N.Y., Aug. 24, 2003 " 'I don't shop without my respirator on. I've got extreme hypersensitivity to everyday chemicals -- fragrance, perfume, shampoo, candles, cleaning products. It's hard to do anything.' ..." Story with picture: Printer friendly: (I hope Julianna Martin knows about EHN's FDA Citizens' Petition 99P-1340 and takes the time to write to the FDA regarding her fragrance sensitization.)

2004 Feb. 19, 2004 (last update) Sources of Indoor Air Pollution - Organic Gases (Volatile Organic Compounds - VOCs) Excerpted from page:

    "Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes, and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.

    "EPA's Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) studies found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas. Additional TEAM studies indicate that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.

    "Household products including: paints, paint strippers, and other solvents; wood preservatives; aerosol sprays; cleansers and disinfectants; moth repellents and air fresheners; stored fuels and automotive products; hobby supplies; dry-cleaned clothing. " The EPA mentions "cosmetic" in the first paragraph and "air fresheners" (what a misnomer that word is!) in the last paragraph, adroitly circumventing the word FRAGRANCE.

Fragrances:The ubiquitous petrochemical-derived pollutant, volatilizing to affect air, bodies of users and nonusers, land and water, which cannot say its name out loud. -- barb wilkie

March 26, 2004 . . .Environmental Working Group's Campaign for Safe Cosmetics -- Survey: Personal care products

Spring 2004 . . . Think Before You Pink Pink Promotions Everywhere: Breast cancer has become the poster child of corporate cause-related marketing campaigns, as companies try to boost their image and their profits by connecting themselves to a good cause. Breast Cancer Action urges you to ask some critical questions before opening your wallet for these marketing campaigns: How much money goes to the cause? What is it supporting? How is it being raised? And will it truly affect the fight against breast cancer? Make sure you know what your money is actually supporting, and consider whether shopping will truly make a difference. What the breast cancer movement needs is political involvement and action to create real changeãand we don't mean the kind you keep in your pocket.

And, I could add an extra question. Are you being asked to purchase products that contain known or suspected carcinogens?
You can bet your purchasing dollars that the mainstream, commonly used fragranced products do carry carcinogens. While the industry assures you its products are safe, and the chemicals used in such small quantities are safe, no one has taken the time and effort to truly test those products before marketing. Remember, the FDA is not really protecting the comsumer; the industry is self-regulated and further protected by trade secret laws.
How does it feel to be an unpaid, unacknowledged industry guinnea pig? Once sick, I can guarantee you will not easily convince anyone of your need for fragrance-free accommodation (although I hope that is soon corrected by the efforts of various advocates for the already chemically injured). Nor will you be granted the support systems that are in place to help people who live with disabilities. And the ongoing insult to injury will be the volatilizing (air polluting, toxic trespass) products your neighbors choose to use.

April 2004 . . . Environmental Health Perspectives "Grand Rounds in Environmental Medicine: Information on MCS Needed" Excerpted from letter by Barb Wilkie in response to "Grand Rounds in Environmental Medicine: Cases from an Emerging Discipline, Howard Hu (2003) [EHP]" "As Hu (2003) also noted, other factors are beginning to be accepted as environmental health hazards, such as cockroach allergen and violence. "Hu (2003) continues:

Some [Grand Rounds cases] pertain to illnesses arising from occupations that entail combinations of exposures that may have acted synergistically. Some arise out of new research on illnesses and exposures that had not previously been linked together, such as infant pulmonary hemorrhage/Stachybotrys mold and possible estuary-associated syndrome. Others explore illnesses that are still of uncertain etiology and biology, such as multiple chemical sensitivities. " I would be even more pleased if modern flavors and fragrances appeared in the list. ..."

April 2004 . . . AB 2025 (Chu) Remove Chemical Hazards from Cosmetics


If you wish to thank Assemblymember Chu for her efforts, please write to her via her contact page at or by mail at: Capitol Office State Capitol P.O. Box 942849 Sacramento, CA 94249-0049 Phone: 916-319-2049 FAX: 916-319-2149 Assemblymember Chu's Home Page:

April 2004 . . . Anderson Laboratories makes available a brochure in text format. "Perfumes and Asthma - don't mix" was a collaborative effort by: Julius H. Anderson, M.D.Ph.D.(ALI); Betty Bridges, R.N.(FPIN); Lynn Lawson, M.A. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, & Chemical Sensitivity Coalition of Chicago). Lawrence A Plumlee, M.D. (Chemical Sensitivity Disorders Association); and Barbara Wilkie (EHN). Brochure available from . . . Anderson (half-fold): EHN (tri-fold, with a little more info): Toxic chemicals in fragrance products; report available from Anderson Laboratories

May 2004 . . . Air-fresheners cause a stink Fears raised as plug-ins linked to cancer compounds. Mark Peplow © Nature News Service / Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2004 "A potentially harmful smog can form inside homes through reactions between air-fresheners and ozone, say researchers at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The reactions generate formaldehyde, classed as a probable carcinogen, and related compounds that many experts believe are responsible for respiratory problems. "The researchers studied the reactions between ozone gas and fragrance molecules such as pinene and limonene, which are emitted by air-fresheners that plug into electrical outlets. Ozone, produced at ground level when vehicle exhaust emissions react with sunlight, is a common urban pollutant, and environmental bodies have set limits on outdoor levels of it. ..."

June 2004 The Honorable Judy Chu P.O. Box 942849, Room 2148 Sacramento, CA 94249-000 California AB 2012 -- June 18, 2004; pending legislation The following quotes from letter of support by the National Environmental Trust. "AB 2012 for the first time requires full content disclosure of ingredients in common personal care products, giving California consumers the ability to make more informed choices about the cosmetics they purchase. The bill also prohibits the use of the hazardous coal tar and phthalates. " While AB 2012 doesn't deal specifically with the topic of fragrance pollution, it does talk to phthalates, which are commonly added to fragrances to make the scent last. "Not only do women of child bearing age frequently use products containing such chemicals, they also transfer many of these chemicals across the placental cord to the developing fetus. "

June 2004 . . . Because We're Worth It! "Because We're Worth It! The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of public health, educational, religious, labor, women's, environmental and consumer groups. The mission of the Because We're Worth It Campaign is to protect the health of consumers and workers by requiring the health and beauty industry to phase out the use of chemicals that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation or reproductive harm."

June 14, 2004 . . . Environmental Working Group's investigation: "A safety assessment of ingredients in personal care products" SKIN DEEP, section on Fragrances Allergic Reactions (Sensitization) My opinion is that the title should be in reverse order: Sensitization (Allergic Reactions) "... Based on their experience in treating people sensitized to cosmetics, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that sensitized patients use only fragrance-free products, and avoid all perfumes, colognes, after-shaves, fingernail care products, and hair spray (AAD 2000). ..." The EWG Petition begins at

June 24, 2004 . . . AB 2012 (CHU) Amended SUMMARY This bill would prohibit, on or after January 1, 2006, the manufacturing, processing, or distributing in commerce in the state of a cosmetic or personal care product that contains phthalates. The bill also requires, by January 1, 2006, the manufacturer of any cosmetic or personal care product subject to regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and manufactured, processed, or distributed in commerce in the state to submit to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment a document identifying any ingredient that is a chemical identified as causing cancer or reproductive toxicity.

2004 - 2007
Diana Buckland, Australia
Prevention is the key to escaping chemical sensitivities. With the right information, you can
make small changes that make a big difference in your health and your children's health.




October 2005 . . . 1: Altern Lab Anim. 2005 Oct;33(5):471-86. Psi-screen, an in vitro toxicity test system: applications in the bioassay of
perfumes and fragrance chemicals.

Griffiths DE.
Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK.

"The effects of 65 perfume formulations (perfume oils, perfumes, eau de parfum, eau de toilette) on mitochondrial membrane potential (Psim) and mitochondrial respiration have been investigated using a mitochondria-based assay for (Psim, termed Psi-Screen. All the perfume formulations tested are highly active in the Psi-Screen assay, and the major site of inhibition in all cases is NADH-ubiquinone reductase (Complex I). ..."


Fragrance Free! Creating a Safe Healthcare Environment
Presented by: The Massachusetts Nurses Association has a new CE on-line program
that focuses on fragrance and health. This innovative environmental health course was
developed by Christine Pontus, MS, RN, COHN-S/CCM, Associate Director, Health &
Safety at MNA, and reviewed by the author. The course offers nurses an opportunity
to learn about the common chemicals used in fragrance products, adverse reactions
associated with fragrance exposure, and some of the key clinical issues of people with
chemical sensitivity.

    Consider taking the program if you cannot answer the following questions:
  • 1. What % of fragrances is made from petroleum?
  • 2. Who, if anyone, regulates the fragrance industry?
  • 3. How many of the chemicals used in fragrance have been tested?
  • 4. What is the relationship between asthma and fragrance?
  • 5. How is the neurological system affected by fragrance?
  • 6. Are fragrances usually found in common cleaning products?

  • Fragrance sensitivity is not an insignificant problem in the country. In fact, 20% of
    Americans experience some adverse health effects when exposed to fragrance.
    It is not uncommon for people with fragrance sensitivity to have to decide
    amongst being able to work, getting health care and being exposed to harmful
    chemicals in fragrance worn by staff, in cleaning products, or in air "fresheners".


Selected important fragrance sensitizers in perfumes - current exposures Rastogi SC, Johansen JD, Bossi R. Department of Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology, National Environmental Research Institute, Frederiksborgvej 399, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark. Contact Dermatitis. 2007 Apr;56(4):201-4 Contact allergy to fragrance ingredients is frequent. Recommendations and regulations of some of the most frequent and potent fragrance allergens have recently been introduced. To investigate current exposures to 4 important fragrance allergens in hydroalcoholic cosmetic products. 25 popular perfume products of Danish as well as international brands were purchased from the Danish retail market. Contents of 4 important fragrance allergens, isoeugenol, hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde (HICC, Lyral((R))), were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and atranol and chloroatranol were determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Isoeugenol was found in 56%, HICC in 72%, atranol in 59%, and chloroatranol in 36% of the 22 eau de toilette/eau de parfum products. The concentratios of isoeugenol were, in all products, below the recommended maximum concentration of 0.02%. HICC reached a maximum of 0.2%, which is 10-fold higher than maximum tolerable concentration considered safe by the EU Scientific Committee. The median concentrations of atranol and chloroatranol in the investigated products were similar to those found in similar products in 2003. A significant decrease in the frequency of presence of chloroatranol in the products was observed. There is still a wide- spread exposure to potent fragrance allergens in perfumes.

2007 . . . Show Us Your Secrets
Fragrances hide toxic chemical ingredients

Environmental Working Group

April 2007 . . . Alternative Medicine
Get the magazine on your newstand now! Read Stop Making Scents
"Is the olfactory onslaught of scented sprays, detergents, and lotions making you sick? AltMed clears the air on the hidden hazards of chemical-laden fragrances and helps you de-scents-itize your home."

  • Web ExclusiveãFight Perfume Pollution
      "As public awareness grows about super-scenting, more companies are providing safer products. Ask questions, do research, share information, and remember not to trust all labels. Most people would never knowingly douse their kids in benzene or dispense narcotics into their neighborhoods from their dryer vents. With full ingredient disclosure, educated consumers will be able to decide what they want to use on their bodies. ..."

    This info includes FDA contact information to support EHN's Citizens' Petition 99P-1340. I hope folks take heed and take time to write to the FDA and to their congressional representative and senators. EHN is best pleased that Alt Med has provided this important information to the public! -- barb


  • Web ExclusiveãFragrances to Avoid
      "To avoid negative reactions, check labels for these potentially harmful ingredients. They are found in common products such as perfume, cologne, shampoo, fabric softener, bleach, air fresheners, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, soap, hairspray, shaving cream, aftershave, deodorants, nail polish remover, and more. ..."
      (This seems to be based, at least in part, upon the work of Julia Kendall. See above, Twenty Most....)

  • Web ExclusiveãEuropean Commission¼s Banned Hair Dye Substances
    A list of chemicals . . . worth your viewing IF you choose to color your hair. -- barb


    I'm running out of steam, folks. I hope you can gather enough information to make your case. It is here on EHN's site for you to use. YOU must take it to your workplace, your school administrators, your civic government agencies, your public transit authorities, your place of worship. Each of us, sick as we are because of the wanton poisoning allowed by our government agencies in the name of commerce has got to be stopped. But, one, two, 50, 100 people will not be able to make a difference. YOU all must join those of us labeled as "activists."

    It is up to each of us to campaign for safer cosmetics!

    What to do?

    Start by writing the FDA in support of EHN's FDA Citizens' Petition 99P-1340 (see 1999, above). Then, copy and/or contact your US representative and your senators; also contact your elected officials at your state and local levels. It is not only our bodies that are being polluted. Fragrance products pollute the air -- even in remote areas -- and the water downstream. These toxic chemical soups are also adversely affecting our aquatic and wildlife.

    If concerned about fragrances in products other than cosmetics and perfumes -- for example, household and janitorial cleaning and maintenance products including fabric softeners -- please write to the Consumers Product Safety Commission. See Not that CPSC has paid any attention to the information I've sent them over the years. But, if ALL of you, also write, maybe they will sit up and take notice. Mailing address: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Washington, D.C. 20207-0001 Street address 4330 East-West Highway Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4408 Tel. (800) 638-2772 Fax (301) 504-0124 and (301) 504-0025 E-mail: At what point do we start looking at what each and everyone of us can do, rather than thinking that it's all up to "the other guy"?


    If you know of other info you feel has a place in this American "beauty" march through time, please feel free to email me with your additions. I've developed this page in the interest of the public's right to know. I also hope it will be helpful to state and federal legislative members in their efforts to protect public health and acknowledge and support the public's right to know.

    The above timeline only gives a glimpse at an extremely small portion of information I have come to learn over the past decade. The depth of my concerns can be better understood by studying the links and information provided on the entire site, which I've donated to the Environmental Health Network ( My concerns deepen regarding chemicals that can affect not only users, but nonusers -- including progeny still in the womb, and infants and children. Fragrance chemicals know no bounds for causing harm. These volatile organics cannot be corralled.

    Betty Bridges and I sounded the phthalates alarm, here and abroad. We discovered them in fragrances through laboratory analyses we had purchased. But, I'm not only interested in the phthalates commonly used in fragrances, which help give them a lasting scent, but I am also much concerned about musks.

    Synthetic musks are found not only downstream from mothers' breasts in their milk -- there to enter the nursing infants -- but are also found downstream of waste treatment plants. Musks have been found to be affecting our aquatic and wildlife, and one could presume, other people. Musks may come back at us in a food source. Musks don't break down so they remain in the environment; they bio-accumulate -- store in adipose tissue of animal, including humans. Musks are being looked at in connection with increases in breast cancers. I also wonder about prostate and testicular cancers as well.

    Who cares if they can be passed on to the young during pregnancy and nursing? I do! And so does Betty Bridges, and the folks with Enviornmental Working Group.

    Another question that burns in my mind is: What happens when developing girls use fragrance products? Could this have an impact on some of the adult, early onset breast cancers? Children, African-Americans and Hispanics have been targeted by the fragrance industry for sales. Look at the high rates of illnesses -- including asthma and cancers -- with an eye to the heavy use of scented products by members of those demographics. Is there a correlation? If we don't look, we won't know. However, by not looking, we do not prove fragrance products are safe. The industry however chooses not to look -- and our government agencies don't / can't look -- because to look and to find, means they are compelled to report. No look, no find, no report. That does NOT prove safety.

    But my concerns don't stop with phthalates or musks. What I beg people to begin researching is the fact that coumarins also are commonly used as fragrance ingredients. While we know that pregnant women should not use coumarins for their anticoagulant properties due to adverse events suffered by the fetus, we seem to ignore the fact that coumarins are a commonly used fragrance ingredient.

    Coumarins can quickly find their way into the mother's body -- skin is not a barrier to our modern petrochemical-derived fragrances. I personally have known of pregnant women who were staunch in their defense of their perceived "right" to wear fragrances, yet suffered the incredible tragedy of losing their babies. The reasons for their tragic loss were "unexplained."

    Maybe the perfumes and other scented products had nothing to do with their grievous losses, but without unbiased research, that remains to be seen.

    I've also known of families that used many scented products in their homes, including perfumes, colognes, air "fresheners" and fabric softeners. They've lost infants due to SIDS. By definition SIDS is an unexplained death of an infant, but considering fragrances are respiratory irritants and sensitizers, and contain neurotoxins (read POISON), I firmly believe that fragrances should be researched for any possible effects that may relate to SIDS. It makes sense that putting a baby to sleep on her/his back would better spare her/his little nose from sucking up the toxins found in modern petrochemical-derived fragrances that have been gratuitously added to a plethora of products, including detergents and fabric softeners. Remember, fragrances cannot clean and even the industry admits that!

    So, it seems I am concerned about three commonly used chemicals out of the industry's reported repertoire of 3,000 to 5,000 inadequately tested chemicals. If these commonly used chemicals are ignored in fragrances, what else lies in wait for us, for our children, our pets and the other creatures with whom we share this planet?

    I view these three highly used chemicals as "indicator" chemicals . . . and we humans as indicator species in their own right. We all have been unwitting and unpaid guinea pigs of the chemical industry -- millions of us too soon sick, too soon disabled, too soon fired, too soon without homes, family, friends, healthcare, and too often, too soon dead.

    We all grieve those we have lost to chemical poisoning from commonly used consumer products -- including those products used according to label directions. Following directions to the letter does not remove the toxins released by their use.

    Best wishes for a healthier tomorrow!

    Barb Wilkie
    This timeline began sometime in early 2000 and shared at that time with Representative Jan Schakowsky for her bill, SNIFF
    Safe Notification and Information for Fragrances Act
    This was the brainchild of Lynn Lawson who met with her representative. EHN supplied a copy of its FDA Citizens' Petition . . . and SNIFF has languished. Maybe 2007 with the new Congress, we'll see it reintroduced.


    Ý FAIR USE NOTICE. These documents may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making these articles available in our efforts to advance understanding of the issues associated with sustainable development, environmental, community and worker health, democracy, public disclosure, corporate accountability, and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a `fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond `fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


    -----Original Message-----

    From: Barbara Wilkie (Barb's email is no longer valid, please contact EHN)
    Sent: 22 July 2004 10:02
    To: Issy Griffin
    Subject: RE: Thank YOU! GP UK for your campaign, The Chemical Home . . . another question

    Dear Issy --

    Can you tell me when The Chemical House was started? I'm especially interested in when GreenPeace began analyzing perfumes.

    I look forward to hearing from you with an answer to my burning question.

    Thanks, much.
    barb wilkie


    Mon, 9 Aug 2004 14:14:09 +0100
    From: "Issy Griffin"

    it all started with the chemical kitchen in 2000


    Issy Griffin
    Face to Face Co-ordinator
    Greenpeace UK
    Canonbury Villas
    N1 2PN
    020 7865 8188
    07796 947448
    SIDS add . . . INTRODUCTIONS 1990 48 19 1991 22 29 1992 15 26 1993 55 27 1994 65 25 1995 101 35 1996 92 31 1997 66 44 1998 77 32 1999 95 41 Decade 636 309

    Return to top of page.

    EHN's homepage


    ehnlinx/c.htm -- 1/27/00 - 4/01/07

    The Environmental Health Network (EHN) [of California] is a 501 (c) (3) non profit agency and offers support and information for the chemically injured. Fragrances are chemical irritants, learn from the work of Julia Kendall and Betty Bridges, RN, get The BEST of the Reactor, join EHN and receive The New Reactor. See what influence the Chemical Manufacturers have had against those of us with EI. The URL for this page is