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Tests for allergies

Allergy and sensitivity conditions have become very much more common in the last 50 years, and many researchers agree that it’s due to changes in the way we live - the chemicals in our environment and on our bodies that were not used a generation ago.

This is a small sample of the tests -  more can be found below,  at the end of "Hormone Disruption"   and many more can be found in the scientific literature. 

Inhalation challenge effects of perfume scent strips in patients with Asthma”, Kumar P., Caradonna-Graham VM., Gupta S., Rao P.N., Thompson J. The full study can be read in “Ann. Allergy Asthma Immunol. 1995 Nov: 75 (5): 429-33.

“Results: Inhalation challenges using perfume produced significant declines in FEV1 [a common test for assessing airway obstruction] in asthmatic patients when compared with control subjects. No significant change in FEV1 was noted after saline (placebo) challenge in asthmatic patients. The percent decline in FEV1 was significantly greater after challenge in severely asthmatic patients as compared with those with mild asthma. Chest tightness and wheezing occurred in 20.7% of asthmatic patients after perfume challenge. Asthmatic exacerbation after perfume challenge occurred in 37%, 17% and 8% of patients with severe, moderate and mild asthma, respectively. Conclusions: perfume-scented strips in magazines can cause exacerbations of symptoms and airway obstruction in asthmatic patients. Severe and atopic asthma increased risk of adverse respiratory reactions to perfume.”

Take-home message: people with asthma have worse symptoms after they’re exposed to fragrance, and the more severe their asthma is, the more severely they’re affected.

Patch testing – reactivity to the individual constituents in relevant cosmetic products” Frosch,PJ;Rastogi SC; Pirker C and others at Dept of Dermatology, Klinikum Dortmund and University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany. The full study can be read in Contact Dermatitis, 2005 April, 52 (4): 216-25

A fragrance mix was evaluated in 6 dermatological centres in Europe. As well, cosmetic products that had previously caused positive reactions in patients were analysed for their individual ingredients.

2.9% of patients reacted to a 14% solution of the fragrance mix and 4.1% responded to a 28% solution. 48% reacted to one or more of the individual constituents of the weaker dilution and 54.3% reacted to the individual constituents of the stronger solution.

Analysis of the cosmetic products showed at least 1-5 constituents in each product: Lyral in 79% of the products, citronellol in 87%, AHCA in 58%, citral in 50% and coumarin in 50%.

72% of the patients reacted to the individual constituents of the cosmetic products. The constituent that the greatest percentage of patients reacted to was hydroxyisohexyl-3-cyclohexen cargocaldehyde (Lyral) – 36% of patients reacted to this, though sometimes after a delay of several days. Lyral was the dominant individual constitutent of the mix. In descending order, the other ingredients that patients reacted to were citral, farnesol, citronellol, alpha-hecyl-cinnamic aldehyde (AHCA).

(See above for health data on some of these ingredients)

Take-home message: between 3% and 4% of patients reacted to a fragrance mix. Roughly half reacted when the individual ingredient was used.

Lyral was the most common ingredient in the cosmetic product and it was also the one most patients reacted to.

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