May 12th, 2010
11:05 AM ET

Fragrance companies withhold chemical information

By David S. Martin
CNN Medical Senior Producer

Perfumes commonly list “fragrance” as an ingredient, rather than naming the specific chemicals involved, withholding information that could cause allergic reactions and other health effects, a report released Wednesday asserts.

Looking at 17 popular perfumes, colognes and body sprays, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found an average of 14 unlisted ingredients in each of these products. By law, companies are not required to list chemicals used to create their fragrance.

“We as consumers have a right to know what we’re putting on our bodies,” says Sean Gray, senior analyst with the Environmental Working Group, which conducted the study for The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “Some of those hidden chemicals you don’t know about have human health impacts.”

The fragrances tested contained, on average, 10 chemical sensitizers, which can trigger reactions such as asthma, wheezing, headaches and contact dermatitis when they are breathed in absorbed into the skin.

John Bailey, chief scientist for the Personal Care Products Council, the Washington-based industry group, said the chemicals in question were sensitive only at very high doses.

“I think they’re misusing information at several levels,” Bailey says. “They report the so-called secret materials in products and they don’t report the levels. As an analytical chemist, you have two jobs. One is to identify chemicals. And the other is to identify how
much is there. The quantity is critical.”

In Europe, 26 substances must be listed on the label even if they are part of the fragrance. Of those 26 substances, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics study found 22 in the products it tested.

In the report, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics called on Congress to rewrite the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973 to require all the chemicals in a perfume or cologne to be listed.

But Bailey says that’s unrealistic. He says there wouldn’t be enough room on labels to include all the ingredients used to create a fragrance and that the information would be meaningless to consumers.

Bailey says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other agencies have the authority now to restrict or ban any substance used in cosmetics consider unsafe.

In the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics study, 12 of the 17 fragrances tested also contained diethyl phthalate, known as DEP.

Phthalates are generally classified as endocrine disruptors, meaning they can interfere with the chemical signaling system in the body, and some studies suggest they may interfere with the reproductive development of boys in the womb.

But Bailey says DEP is not a health concern in the amount it is used in cosmetics, and DEP deemed safe by American and European regulators.

“Fragrances have been used for centuries. We know a lot about the composition. There’s really a basic tool chest of materials being used,” Bailey says. “It’s not as though we don’t have any experience with them.”

In December, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency named eight phthalates to a new “chemicals of concern” list, citing adverse effects on the reproductive system in male laboratory animals and human studies showing associations between phthlates and health problems in people. DEP was not among those phthalates cited by the EPA.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of non-profit groups, including the Environmental Working Group, Alliance for Health Tomorrow, the Breast Cancer Fund, Commonweal, Friends of the Earth and Women’s Voices for the Earth.

soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. darsi

    Multiple Chemical Sensitivities...ought to be changed to...Multiple Chemical Sensibilities...we are not supposed to be spraying chemicals on, in and around our bodies...our children's bodies, our grandchildren's bodies...chemical and kids don't mix! we are not supposed to be eating chemicals, farming with chemicals, cleaning with chemicals, working with chemicals...folks...it's time to wake up and smell the chemicals...clean water...clean food...clean air...Healthy people Everywhere...My body doesn't like chemicals...my father was exposed to chemicals in the military...he committed suicide...how many people have to be labeled "chemically imbalanced"??? How many cancers and neurological diseases until someone stands up to the chemical industry, the fragrance industry,the military?....In honor of the children, please care and be a voice for the children...peace

    May 19, 2010 at 00:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Surviving Smelly

    Anyone try carrying around a handkerchief? It is hard for the smells to go through them. When people walk by that smell consistently sneeze obnoxiously loud.

    From a free market standpoint, when people start demanding unscented material, the fragrance industry will fall by the way side. Start by using crystal brand deodorant- most of their products have no fragrances. The biggest fragrances are in our deodorants and in our soaps IMO.

    If you work with someone that refuses not to smell, usually young folks that think they impress the other sex, buy a book on essential oils and plan a course of action. Start by telling them "You smell funny". Unfortunately if it is your boss that smells you might need to find another job...or you can always breathe through your mouth.

    May 20, 2010 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. jo ann nivasabutr

    Time to wake up and see that all of these Toxins in our lives have produced a generation of children that are unhealthier than their parents..... go back to basics that includes all of our food and soaps..
    We will be paying the price for a long time....Trust no one but your
    inner instinct.........$$$$$$$$ is the name of the game and big Corporations will continue to use us and grab our dollars.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Angel De Fazio

    What John Bailey clearly neglected to mention, was that they test individual chemicals, not chemicals for their synergistic effects. So when you have, as he puts it 'small amounts' they do interact with other chemicals and have an increased reaction.

    Allergens in combination have a synergistic effect on the elicitation response:a study of fragrance-sensitized individuals. “It was found that the combination of two allergens in individuals allergic to both substances had a synergistic effect on the elicitation response evaluated by all three methods. The 1:1 mixtures of the two allergens elicited responses as if the doses were three to four times higher
    than those actually used, which is significantly more than expected if an additive effect had been present.” Br J Dermatol. 1998 Aug;139(2):264-70.

    Also, in 1999, at a FDA Stakeholders Meeting, Bailey and his associates, informed the FDA that they would cooperate with the FDA IF THEY REMAINED under the classification of Food and Nutrition.

    The smoke and mirror campaign of the fragrance industry is coming to an abrupt end, and their deception and lies about safety will become more public and verify the collusion of industry with the so called independent testing laboratories.

    June 2, 2010 at 03:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. leah

    i read labels on just about everything i purchase, and now that i am aware of the "fragrance" scam, i will no longer buy products with "fragrance" listed as an ingredient. and i will no longer be buying any perfume or spraying anything on my body that isnt natural. ive already switched to all naturals body lotion and organic foods. it seems like the more i research, the more i find out how toxic our society really has become. i would say for anyone who is concerned to start with the area that bothers you the most and take small steps toward living a life as free of harmful chemicals has possible. i started with food. my next pursuit will be to buy all natural body sprays (if any), shampoos and body washes. after that i will look into buying natural bedsheets and pillows, as pillows are sprayed with toxic fire retardants.

    June 2, 2010 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Maxine-RN

    In fact, historically, fragrances were made from aromatic plants through a process called distillation. They were NOT made from hormone disrupting chemicals. Most of these chemicals were not even available or invented prior to 1900. It is ludicrous to suggest that these chemicals have been used to produce fragrance for centuries. In fact it has been less than one century. I'm throwing the history book at you.

    Problems such as cancer and autism in children, multiple chemical sensitives, and Alzheimer's have mostly surfaced in this century. As the level of chemical use goes up many of these conditions are beginning to occur in epidemic proportions. For instance the rate of Autism used to be 1 in 10,000 and in the past 10 to 15 years has risen to 1 in 150. That's pretty statistically significant.

    June 2, 2010 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Dave M

    My wife and me don't use perfumes or colognes. I became ill in 2004. I experienced sever allergic reactions to perfumes, colognes, and laundry detergents. I have to stay away from all of them. I am also affected by the perfumes on others. I don’t allow people wearing them to stay in our house long. I run from people in stores. I have been tested positive for many perfumes. I nearly lost my kidneys because one or all of the following products, perfumes, mold, and fuels. I received the news that I have Minimal change disease. What causes it? Usually the cause is unknown. Sometimes it occurs as an allergic reaction to something. http://www.edren.org I have been on high dosage of steroids. Because of the steroids, I now have had hip replacement four weeks ago. I have to have the other done in four months. I am only 49. When I asked my doctor if it could be that any of the products caused my problems. He told me that they have had four other men who have been drinking from the same water pool near a coal mine test positive with Minimal Change.
    I must admit I use to be skeptical about these things. However at the time I use to be healthy, and owned a couple of companies. I employed up to twenty people. That was until I got sick. I had to close my company to keep others from getting sick. I have been denied by Social Security based on the fact that my problem or problems cannot be covered. I could not receive any help for my problems due to the Toxic Tort Laws. These laws were brought in effect after George W Bush was elected. The law basically says that because medical scientist could not prove it, then you are on your own. Every insurance company has on board doctors who will do everything possible to say you’re out of luck. However many of us saw how our Government spent millions to have people sent over seas to scrape mold of the walls where many of or injured and hurt in the Iraq War were being treated. The people doing this job were in total body suits. I was proud of our Government for doing this. “What about those of us here.”
    There are things that people should be aware of. Not everyone is affected by any of these things. Just like not everyone is allergic to the oil spill caused by BP. The sad thing is that a lot of people jump on board claiming to be sick, in hope of getting large amounts of money. The main reason for Government passing such a bills like that of the Toxic Tort, is due to the fact that people would write on their walls with black chalk. They would then get the insurance company to pay to have the house rebuilt. They would also claim to be sick and then file claims for large amounts of money. If Government would not of stepped in to protect the insurance companies who helped to get the Republican Party elected, they would go broke. This causes problems for those who are truly sick.

    June 3, 2010 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. D.J. in Orange County

    Thank you CNN and Dr. Gupta for you reporting on this issue. Nice to see some investigative journalism on an issue that very rarely gets any coverage.

    June 3, 2010 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Sharon Miller

    In 2006 I woke up red faced, short of breath, blood pressure of 180/120 and pulse rate of 130. I didn't have high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, etc. The Renuzit air freshener stick on my dresser attacked my central nervous system.

    June 3, 2010 at 19:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Barbara Rubin

    Market research conducted by industry is far from objective science. The absence of data about a substance is not proof of safety for a chemical but often indicates that industry didn't fund the needed study or chose not to publish one which had unfavorable results. When research on chemical safety is considered 'proprietary', like the choice by industry to refuse disclosure of fragrance ingredients on labels or MSDS sheets, consumers cannot make informed choices.

    Cosmetics, fragrance and flavor chemicals etc. are not regulated by the government so a 'self-regulating' industry is free to remain arbitrary as to the information it gathers, studies and releases. In the meantime, the general public remains fully exposed to any and all adverse effects of unknown and ubiquitous chemicals in untested combinations. A lot has been learned about fragranced products and I published such a summary – see the link below.

    Barbara Rubin


    June 5, 2010 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Lauri

    Many thanks to Dr. Gupta for this series. On the June 3 program that I saw, a Dr. Whelan said if the FDA approves something, then it is safe. The FDA has approved MANY medications that have later been pulled off the market.
    For those of you who, like me, are extremely sensitive to odors (whether fragrances, cleaning agents, pesticides, etc), I would like to suggest that you contact the Chemical Injury Information Network (CIIN) in Montana. Their monthly newsletters have been a godsend for me.
    And, to those, who say "if you don't like perfume, don't wear it", we don't have to wear perfume. The perfume that other people wear permeates my clothes, hair, etc., and causes me to have irregular heartbeats, horrible migraines, and asthma attacks. There is no reason that I should have to become ill, just for somebody to think that they smell good (which they don't).
    People who criticize those of us who are sensitive to chemicals should realize that it can happen to them someday. All it takes is one accidental exposure to toxins, or a build-up of smaller exposures.
    All these exposures can lead to cancer, and I cannot think of one person on the face of this earth that would willingly wish for that.

    June 5, 2010 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Seth

    It seems people on both sides of the debate are very adamant and sometimes (not always, and not all of you) close-minded to rational points from the opposite side.

    I'm in an interesting position as I'm a bit in both camps. I've been a fragrance enthusiast for a number of years now, but have suffered a 6 month long stretch of debilitating chemical sensitivity. I know what it's like to love fragrances. And to hate them.

    First, I wholly agree with those who say that most people who wear fragrances wear WAY too much. They do. There simply IS no reason for someone to be able to smell you 30 feet away. Or even 10 feet. 3 feet? Maybe – it depends on the circumstances. I wish the sales assistants or even the packaging would talk about olfactory fatigue, a well known and scientifically documented phenomenon where the nose simply 'tunes out' constant olfactory stimuli. The irony here is that often times the more people spray – and the closer to their nose that they spray, such as men spraying their neck – the LESS they cna smell the fragrance. Countless times I've read reviews of scents that I own or have tried where people claim they only lasted a half an hour, while I can smell it – with just one spray to my chest – clearly for 6 or 8 hours or more. People need to learn how to utilize fragrances in an appropriate – subtle – manner.

    While I can empathize with those who suffer allergic reactions or MCS, I do object to the suppositions proposed by some of you that fragrance is merely used in place of proper hygiene or merely to "smell good." The former is true only in rare circumstances with a select few individuals, and while the latter may be true for the majority, it is not true for all. Fragrances are literally compositions, in much the same way as music is(minus the complete control of temporal qualities and a few other, significant differences). While most of the compositions one can find at a local department store are basic, 'thin', and lacking, engineered to the masses tastes – just as is most pop music – that does not mean that there aren't some gems to be found there. But there is a whole other world of niche perfumery, small companies with names almost nobody has heard of such as Amouage, Serge Lutens, L'Artisan, Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier, who, because of their small and select audience, are much freer from the mainstream pressures. Many of these compositions truly are works of art, no different than a Dali painting or a Bach Fugue. It saddens me that perfumery as a whole is not more appreciated, instead most often being relegated to a functional product. The idea of banning all fragrance is akin to the idea of burning all books or all music because we can find examples of each that may subvert the minds of our youth. Like any artistic medium, it is a spectrum that ranges from complete trash to utterly sublime creations, with the majority falling somewhere around the middle – mediocre.

    While I understand that many of you can not tolerate the chemicals in nearly any perfume, I just wanted to expose this other perspective, as it's not one often encountered, but those who hold it would suffer greatly if we 'threw the baby out with the bath water' and simply banned all fragrance. While our society and culture do not appreciate it as such as of yet, that does not mean it is not another art form. It just happens to be one for a sense that we underutilize and underappreciate.

    Instead of black or white solutions, we should be discussing the many shades of grey. First and foremost, if you have a problem with a co-workers usage of scent, approach them directly and try to calmly and in as friendly a manner as possible, explain to them how you suffer and ask if they can either try a different scent (in the event that you just happen to be allergic to an ingredient in "Scent Y", their usual scent, but may have no adverse reaction to "Scent X" at all), or reduce their number of sprays. If you approach them in this manner I think most people would be willing to cooperate with you until you can find a workable compromise where you are both satisfied – perhaps neither of you 100% happy witht he outcome but both of you much closer to that number rather than one of you being wholly satisfied while the other being wholly dissatisfied. This is a process and may take some time, but as long as they continue to work with you towards an acceptable compromise, try to bear with them. They don't fully understand the extent of your suffering and will of course feel that they are making an equal if not bigger sacrifice in changing their habits. If they won't cooperate or become vindictive in any way (spraying MORE than normal, just to upset you), then you are completely warranted in taking the issue to a supervisor. Prior to that though, well – we are all adults, we should try to handle the situation like adults.

    For those who do wear fragrance.. less truly is more. Most scents need no more than two sprays, and I always advocate to spraying the chest or even abdoment, as this has a couple of benefits. One, the skin is not exposed which means that the longevity is typically greater and secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it reduces the amount of sillage (the invisible 'cloud' of scent one permeates). Secondly, as one moves around one will get little wafts of scent from time to time and be able to smell your scent far longer than you would if you sprayed say, your neck, where your nose is constantly bombarded with the scent and the nose/brain quickly tunes the scent out via the aforementioned phenomenon of olfactory fatigue.

    Also, I do think it would be nice if more allergens were required to be listed on the box. To those who say they can't list the ingredients due to them being trade secrets.. well, that's not really true. First off, if a fragrance lists 50-200 chemicals, but not their proportions, you'd have a REALLY hard time recreating said fragrance, especially given that many ingredients are used in proportions as low as 0.05% (yes, 5 one hundreds of a percent) or so. Of course others may make up 10-50% of a fragrance or more. Basically, you still need to have perfumer training to recreate a scent based on an ingredients list alone. Of course, the real reason it's not such a threat is that in this day and age thanks to gas chromatography, companies CAN analyze other companies scents and basically see exactly what went into them. *This* is how companies make cheap knock-offs of popular scents, although the knock-offs will often substitute cheaper synthetics in lieu of the more expensive synthetics and natural materials, hence why the knock-offs often times do smell cheaper or more synthetic. Some times though, they are very, very close. So, basically, trade secrets don't exist in the perfume industry, and they all know this. There was talk within the industry to push forward with some kind of 'patent type' laws, but many of the major players would then have to retract some of their biggest sellers which themselves had basically copied (with minor tweaks) some perfume that came before them, and hence the discussion never really got very far. Hence, we should require labeling on the package, with all of the ingredients within. The reason the industry fears this I believe is that most perfumes that list rose, orange blossom, jasmine, etc, would, if forced to expose all of their ingredients, show no actual rose or jasmine or orange blossom oil or absolute, but instead would show only the synthetic equivalent(s). Hence, their illusion of utilizing "the best" ingredients would disappear, their prestige may be reduced, and ultimately, their sales, too. I don't think the market would be impacted as such, personally, but I think that's what they fear the most. (Of course, there are companies like Amouage and Xerjoff who, while still utilizing synthetics (yes, they are necessary in modern day scents) do utilize very high quality and expensive floral absolutes and oils. A simple sniff of their fragrances can convinve those who know nothing about the industry as a whole.)

    Anyhow, I'm really hoping that both sides can be more sympathetic and understanding to each other. As a perfume lover who suffered extreme migraines, inability to focus, etc from scents for a 6 month period, I do know just how brutal the suffering can be. But as a lover of the artistry of scents, I do feel that banning them as a whole is overkill.
    I do think that some of the extremely long lasting musks utilized in laundry detergents and especially fabric softeners, need to be further regulated. These things are designed to last for a LONG time, they have to last through a wash, for one thing, and they also last a long time when they get into our groundwater supply. They are often overpowering to the point of obnoxiousness. Despite being a fan of fragrance, I use unscented laundry detergent, no fabric softener, no air fresheners, etc. I don't want to be swamped in 500 smells a day, either, but I do love the freedom to wear a single spritz (maybe 2, if it's very light or fleeting) of a scent I love that can lift my mood, transport me to different places in much the way a good book can, etc. Please don't take that away from me.

    Let's discuss other ways to compromise and to find solutions satisfactory to both sides. One thing I really don't know how to fix for the sufferers as of yet is their exposure to the inconsiderate in public. What we need is a social climate where fragrance is OK when subtle and in moderation (ie: when you can smell someone when you get close enough to shake their hand or give them an embrace) but where we attach a strong stigma to those who would bathe in the stuff. I think we need to speak up when people overdo their scents, saying something like (utilizing a positive comment first, so that they do not immediately shut down to the suggestion) "You smell really good but it *is* a bit strong. I think it would smell even better if you put less on."

    ~Seth H.

    June 5, 2010 at 20:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. gale

    I saw an article on the internet under http://americanchronicle.com/articles/printerfriendly/154089 dated 5/1/10, which states that CDC is going to require that their buidlings maintain a fragrance-free environment. That's a good start. Now, if they could only enforce it at libraries, stores, etc.. It will probably take time for people to acknowledge that some of us have a serious medical threat from perfumes, pesticides, cleaning agents, etc.

    June 6, 2010 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Angel De Fazio

    Gale, the CDC instituted the scent/fragrance free policy in June of 2009.

    The entire CDC Indoor Air Quality memo can be found on our foundation at

    The issue of fragrances is that they are a ADA Barrier problem and therefore, the use can be construed as an issue and litigation can be initiated.

    I reference the City of Detroit who was fined $100,000 for failure to accommodate an employee's fragrance sensitivity.

    The comment by another who referenced knock off fragrances use synthetic chemicals, needs to understand that almost every fragrance either the original or knock off is almost all synthetically manufactured.

    Aside from those with environmentally mediated sensitivities, you have asthma also being exacerbated.

    So before people go off citing that they can see both sides of the issue, they need to do pub med research and learn the truth about the so called 'ingredients' that make up these toxins.

    June 7, 2010 at 02:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Susan Lander

    Thank you CNN for publishing this. As many of you posted, it isn't as simple as just not using fragrances if you want to avoid exposure. It's not possible to avoid them, even if we really, really want to!

    Over the last couple of years automatic synthetic fragrance dispensers have been installed in most public bathrooms and have become a serious barrier for people with asthma and other respiratory disorders to use bathrooms in public buildings, restaurants, workplaces, Drs. offices, stores, etc.

    Therefore it has created a serious ADA public access barrier in addition to an involuntary exposure issue.

    In addition, more and more hard scientific evidence is being released on the link between these chemicals and serious medical problems.

    Fragrance chemicals in particular contain formaldehyde (highly toxic and a known carcinogen) and many other chemicals which are known to be carcinogenic, neurotoxic, and respiratory toxicants. The chemical manufacturers don't have to disclose the ingredients under US law, and they don't. But we need to keep in mind that this is a multi- billion dollar a year profit-making industry for them.

    For the posters who wanted to see specific chemical content in fragranced products, there is a good (and quite disturbing) peer-reviewed article on this by Dr. Anne Steinemann from the University of Washington: Fragranced consumer products and Undisclosed Ingredients, A.C. Steinemann / Environmental Impact Assessment Review 29 (2009) 32–38 (http://www.ce.washington.edu/people/faculty/bios/documents/Steinemann2008.pdf)

    Environmental Working Group has a lot of good information on this (www.ewg.org), including a November 2009 report called "Greener School Cleaning Supplies=Fresh Air + Healthier Kids." (http://www.ewg.org/schoolcleaningsupplies/fullreport) On pages 2-4 of the Executive Summary, it states, "EWG’s air pollution tests of school cleaning supplies detected hundreds of contaminants, including six that cause asthma, 11 tied to cancer in people, and many more that have never been evaluated for safety."

    This report rates the ever-present "Febreze Air Effects" air freshener among the "Worst Cleaners," giving off 89 airborne contaminants including acetaldehyde, a chemical linked to cancer.
    Among the hundreds of chemicals identified in the school cleaners were:
    • Six known to cause asthma (formaldehyde,
    styrene, methyl methacrylate, ethanolamine,
    alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, and
    didecyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride).
    [Noting that Childhood asthma prevalence has more than
    doubled since 1980, and today nearly 10 percent
    of children have asthma.]
    • 11 that are known, probable, or possible human
    carcinogens (formaldehyde, styrene,
    chloroform, trichloroethylene, benzene, 1-
    chloro-2,3-epoxypropane, acetaldehyde, Nethyl-
    N-nitroso-ethanamine, 2-butoxyethanol,
    ethylbenzene, and quartz). [Noting that Incidence of
    childhood cancer rose 28 percent from 1974 to
    1998, with especially significant increases in
    leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and several
    brain and nervous system cancers.]
    • 283 on which there is almost no scientific data,
    according to a review of the scientific literature."

    Finally, there is a very illuminating recent report to President Obama (April 2010, available at http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/presidents-cancer-panel) from the President's Cancer Panel: Suzanne H Reuben and the Dept. of Health & Human Services, National Institute of Health, & the National Cancer Institute titled "Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk, What We Can Do Now" This report found that environmental carcinogens are responsible for a far greater number of cancer than previously believed, and that eradicating these environmental threats should be a priority for President Obama. In the Executive Summary, page ii, this report states: "Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety.
    U.S. regulation of environmental contaminants is rendered ineffective by five major problems: (1) inadequate funding and insufficient staffing, (2) fragmented and overlapping authorities coupled with uneven and decentralized enforcement, (3) excessive regulatory complexity, (4) weak laws and regulations, and (5) undue industry influence. Too often, these factors, either singly or in combination, result in agency dysfunction and a lack of will to identify and remove hazards."

    PS, Did anyone else get a sick feeling watching the chemical dispersants being poured into the Gulf of Mexico: And then shortly thereafter came the headlines: "Gulf oil spill chemical dispersant too toxic, EPA orders BP has 24 hours to chose another form of dispersant as toxicity of Corexit raises concerns among scientists" (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/may/20/gulf-oil-spill-chemical-dispersant)
    "The Obama administration has ordered BP to use a less toxic form of chemical dispersant to break up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The decision, first reported in the Washington Post, comes only hours after Congress heard devastating testimony from BP executives and scientists on the high toxicity of two forms of Corexit, and their relative ineffectiveness against the type of crude now polluting the Gulf. The two versions of the chemical being used on the spill are banned in the UK because they are damaging to sealife.

    More than 600,000 gallons of chemicals have been sprayed on the surface of the Gulf with another 55,000 injected directly into the oil billowing out of the ocean floor."

    This is our air, our water, our bodies, our health and our future. When is enough enough?

    Thank you.

    June 8, 2010 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. BettyJK

    How disingenuous of Cathy Cook to say that there is nothing secret about the ingredients in their fragrances when in fact when asked what is in a specific perfume, manufacturers always reply it is a "trade secret" and they don't have to tell you.

    And what is truly deplorable is for her to claim that these highly toxic VOCS have been tested either singularly or synergistically and declared as safe is simply a big industry lie. The industry is self-regulated and we all know what happens when industry gets to regulate itself!

    Just ask the millions of people who are made very ill and who can't work or have difficulty even walking down the street because of the polluting toxic substances called "fragrances" that cause chemical injury.

    June 10, 2010 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Upset

    I suffer so much from toxic smells that I cannot understand others who have NO sympathy for people like me. I can smell perfumes, lotions, shampoos, hairspray, dryer sheets, etc on people who come in contact with me. You don't even want me to tell you what I go through because of it!!

    I cannot go shopping when there's a crowd but then again suffer from the smell from the checkout lady. I cannot go into malls or stores that have a large display of candles. I cannot attend church anymore or go anywhere for any kind of gathering or meeting. I was in Goodwill looking for videos and got so sick from their pumped in fragrance I had to leave and know I can't go back. Last week I was a guest in my friend's home and had to leave because every single plug in her home had a scent dispenser. I went to a movie this evening and was assaulted by smells they sprayed on a washed area perhaps from a person being sick. Thank goodness eople I work with are careful what they are using around me and I appreciate that greatly as I MUST work since my husband lost his job two yrs ago.

    What makes people think that they have to drown themselves in scents?? What is wrong with our society that they would subject themselves and their precious children to these poisonous odors???

    As far as comparing eating peanuts to wearing fragrances....excuse me, how could any intelligent person make such a correlation, what one eats has no possible way of effecting one who is sensitive to fragrances?!?!?!?!?

    This is a VERY SERIOUS problem and I predict it will eventually effect most people in one way or another!!

    I'm Upset

    June 11, 2010 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Lori

    "Fragrances" have literally ruined my life. I know that most, who don't suffer this immediate reaction to chemicals think that people like me are whacked. I can assure you, we are not. It took me several years to figure out why I got so sick when I went into public places. The list of symptoms triggered by exposure to fragrances, pesticides sprayed onto lawns of neighbors, detergents, fabric softeners, etc. was a complete surprise to me when I finally figured out what was happening to me. I have to very carefully consider where I will go and have become, by necessity homebound for most of the time. I thought this was a matter of willpower to overcome this obstacle. I pushed and pushed myself to overcome this but to no use so now I'm resolved to try to live the best I can with these limitations. I used to LOVE perfume but now cannot tolerate it. The worst part is that people who wear it don't realize how much it affects people with this illness. I am not able to attend religious services any more, which are VERY important to me; a building full of people wearing fragranced soap, body lotion, deodorant, shampoo, hair conditioner, hair gels and sprays, aftershave and perfumes have almost sent me to the hospital with a blood pressure of 185/110. Once out of the fragrances my BP went down. This is serious and should not be taken lightly or downplayed by an industry that doesn't want to admit it's all about the bottom line and really care nothing about safety of the people who are made ill by their concoctions. I said earlier that most people are not suffering immediate reaction to fragrances but are the very ones that WILL wonder why they are sick with various other illnesses. I think there is an upside to those of us who suffer with the immediate symptoms ... we are making sure our exposure is limited and therefore are not continuing to get as toxic as those of you who don't understand what the chemicals are doing to us. Please open your eyes and ears to this horrible ordeal we go through and start trying to understand how hard this is for the people you know and love to suffer with this.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.