Last week, I was shipped some supplies from a popular soap making supply company and found a sample of one of their fragrance oils included.
Now, I’ve never bought fragrance oil because I don’t use them in my soaps. There were no ingredients listed on the bottle, and, even though I knew I would not get an answer, I decided to email the company anyway.
I asked them what were the ingredients in their fragrance oils. Their response:
“Our fragrance oils are 100% synthetic, created in a lab to mimic scents not found in nature. The ingredients in both the flavoring oils and fragrance oils is proprietary information and is considered ‘trade secrets.’ Fragrance oils are protected under the ‘Trade Secret’ laws and even the vendors do not give out that information.”
So basically – they can’t tell me.
Frankly, I think that is unacceptable. If we want to know what is in our food, why shouldn’t we want to know EXACTLY what we are putting on our skin?
Furthermore, did you know that fragrance oils contain a potential of 3,500 different ingredients (“What is Fragrance Oil“). These ingredients are not policed by the FDA, but instead by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM). This organization “researches” each ingredient, then publishes a peer reviewed article citing why the ingredient should be in cosmetics (“What is Fragrance Oil“). Since it’s a peer reviewed journal, you should just sit back and take their word that the ingredient is safe, right?
Wrong… Very wrong.
Furthermore, the company who couldn’t tell me what was in their fragrance oils pointed me to an article by Stephen Herman of Diffusion, LLC. In this article, Mr. Herman writes a synopsis of the Sustainable Fragrances conference 2010 and hails the safety standards of the RIFM. One of my favorite quotes: “Unfortunately, the hardest part of convincing the public that fragrances are safe, or that any chemical is safe, is the low level of scientific literacy in our society” (Herman, 2010).
Immediately following that statement, Mr. Herman goes on to say “the disclosure of fragrance formulas isn’t going to help anyone.”
So let’s get this straight… First, we (the public) are uneducated, but knowing what is in fragrance formulas won’t help to educate us.
This makes me sick. A potential 3,500 ingredients could be in synthetic fragrance oils, but I can’t make up my own mind what is safe and what isn’t?
That’s like saying I should eat my cereal each morning and not be allowed to know what is actually IN the cereal because it is a “Trade Secret.” I could be eating dog food for all I knew!
At this point, I wanted to provide you with a list of potentially dangerous ingredients that can be found in fragrance oils…. but I can’t, since I don’t know exactly what ingredients they are.
I delve into the ingredients briefly in my post Fragrance Oils Vs. Essential Oils. Some potential fragrance ingredients include DPG (Di Propelyne Glycol), Di Ethyl Phthalate, isopropyl myristate, other types of phthalates, and/or other carcinogenic chemicals.
Here are some ingredients posted to a whole sale website: The Yipppee Team!!! I’ll let you go through and “educate” yourself.
But, in closing, I’d just like to remind you of one fact. Every time you use a product with the name “fragrance” in its ingredient list, you are putting an unknown amount of chemicals on your skin.
If you are comfortable with this, fine. If you aren’t comfortable with this, join me in speaking out against fragrance labeling in our products.
We should have a right to know what we are putting on and in our bodies.