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In the EU, the European Scientific Commission on Consumer Products (a government organisation) tests some consumer products., including some that are fragranced.  They've decided that the evidence against 26 fragrance ingredients is so strong that they must be declared on labels (see above for the list of these 26). Some are so dangerous to health that the ESCP is considering banning them altogether. Another 36 ingredients are under review and may be restricted in the future.

Their report says: “In recent years there has been concern for the safety of fragrance materials. Dermatologists have highlighted the frequency of allergic contact dematitis from perfumes. In response to this growing concern, the Commission was asked for positive actions in respect to legislative measures on fragrance materials.”

The Commission recommends further studies on these chemicals “with a view to further restrictions and possible de-listing” of some of them.


In the US, a review of Government records shows that the US Food and Drug Administration has not assessed the safety of the vast majority of the chemical used in scented products.

(Source:, 15.07.10)

In Australia, the regulator of chemicals in consumer products, NICNAS, only intervenes if adverse reaction is reported and a particular chemical is thought to be responsible. NICNAS requires the product to be tested, but relies on the manufacturer to remove the chemical.

New chemicals in fragrance are tested (by the manufacturers, not by NICNAS), but most of the 3,000 ingredients of fragrance have been in use since before the introduction of compulsory testing 12 years ago. Therefore they don’t have to be tested.

(Source:, 15/7/10)

In a nutshell, we can't necessarily look to governments to safeguard us.

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