"The Secret Chemicals in Perfume Are About To Be Unbottled"

"SC Johnson will be the first large company to disclose all fragrance ingredients in products. Could this be the end of trade-secret protection for the fragrance industry? "

"The term 'fragrance' has, for decades, hidden all manner of ingredients: somewhere between 10 to 50 chemicals, in most products, which don’t have to be disclosed on labels because they are considered trade secrets under the US Fair Packaging and Labeling Act.

Some of those ingredients might not remain secrets for much longer. Consumer packaged goods company SC Johnson last week became the first multinational to announce its intention to disclose all fragrance ingredients in its products. The news comes after other companies – most recently Clorox – have announced steps to disclose fragrance allergens in their products. But this represents the first attempt to disclose all fragrance ingredients on a product-by-product basis.

It’s a big deal, not just because consumers want to know what chemicals they’re putting in and around their bodies, but also because many of the chemicals that make up fragrances happen to be allergens. In a 2009 study, Anne M Steinemann, an internationally recognized expert on pollutant exposures and related health effects, found that 30.5% of the US population reported skin irritation or headaches (and in some cases both) when exposed to scented products."

Amy Westervelt reports for the Guardian October 15, 2014.

Source: Guardian, 10/16/2014