9/05/2017

Companies are coming clean about fragrance, but is that enough?


If you look at the ingredient label of your favorite shampoo or laundry detergent, you'll likely see the word "fragrance" or "parfum." What you won't see is a list of the chemicals and other ingredients used to manufacture that synthetic scent. Product manufacturers don't have to tell you what's in their fragrances, as those ingredients are considered a trade secret and protected by law.

But scented products are everywhere — perfume, cologne, conditioner, moisturizer, deodorant, shaving cream, air freshener, makeup, floor cleaner, candles, you name it. Many of them are applied directly to the skin, and others will linger in the air you breathe, which is why consumers and environmental groups have been pushing for more transparency in the fragrance industry — an industry expected to be worth $43 billion worldwide within the next few years — as to what, exactly, is in their products.

Over the last few years, a handful of big companies have started to come clean. The latest one is Procter & Gamble, which recently announced that by the end of 2019, it will share all fragrance ingredients down to 0.01 percent for more than 2,000 of its products sold in the U.S. and Canada. This goes a step further than what the company already does, which is publish its "full fragrance palette" with a list of all the ingredients used. However, that list does not break down which ingredient are in which product and in which amount....more