Why We Need Fragrance Disclosure

In Personal Care Products

Under current federal rules, ingredients in the fragrances in products like shampoos, cosmetics, deodorants and mouthwashes do not need to be listed on the labels of those products.

Unfortunately the two words “and fragrance” that do appear on the label can conceal dozens of chemicals, some of which pose risks to human health when applied to our bodies and threaten our water quality when they go down our drains.

When the International  Fragrance Association published a list of 2,339 materials used by its members, it included chemicals classified as carcinogens, and others linked to hormonal imbalance, learning disabilities and respiratory ailments.

These chemicals can also harm our environment.  Synthetic musks have been found in wastewater, drinking water, soil and indoor air. They accumulate in the fatty tissues of aquatic life and travel up the food chain to salmon and shrimp.

Manufacturers in the United States have long insisted that revealing the elements of fragrance would put them at a disadvantage because competitors could learn their formulas.

But Clean water Action will be proposing legislation in the 2017 Rhode Island General Assembly session that will provide full transparency for consumers without requiring formulations or creating conflicts with current law.

The measure would require disclosure of all ingredients on the manufacturer’s web site without having specific amounts or combinations revealed;  just a list of everything contained in the product so people can make an informed choice about the personal care products they use.

We should know as much about what we put on our bodies as what we put in them. To get involved, email Dave Gerraughty at dgerraughty@cleanwater.org.

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