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Who tests the ingredients?

Over the last several decades more testing of fragrance ingredients has taken place. This is because of a growing perception that some of these substances are harmful to human health.

Testing has been done by

  • Fragrance manufacturers
  • Government scientists in some countries.
  • Bodies such as the World Health Organisation.
  • Manufacturers, who are required to produce Material Safety Data Sheets for their products.
  • Private researchers in universities and clinics.

Some of these tests use more of the ingredients than the testers think would occur in real life. This is the argument the fragrance industry uses to justify the continued use of ingredients with known health effects.

However, the way the industry thinks a product will be used (how much of it, how often, whether it’s left on the skin or washed off) isn’t always the way it’s actually used.

As well, many of these are tests of the individual ingredients, rather than their combined effect in a consumer product. In combination they may create different effects. When you think that many people would routinely use up to a dozen fragranced products on their skin or in the air they breathe, every day of the year, the combined effect is substantial. Some testing has been done on this - the real effect of fragrance in the real world.

You’ll find some information about these different kinds of tests on the pages in this section.

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