Friday, February 26, 2010

No Alcohol-Based Perfumes in Our Future?

The somewhat alarming title which brings to mind declarations much more ominous than "perfumery is dead" etc. due to reformulations or a reversion to ancient perfumery tactics which relied on oil-based elixirs isn't completely demagogue. In fact there is some development afoot which requires a bit of thinking and reconsidering and perhaps some action, if we're serious about what we say and do in public. (I'm reminding you of the ethos we champion)
It seems that when Ava Luxe stopped making alcohol-based eau de parfum versions of her popular fragrances she was on to something, even if she is based in sunny California. According to latest news, all alcohol based perfumes made in Colorado, USA, will be banned if HR 10-1248 CSPCPA is passed, as legisltors consider it a carcinogen! Even though alcohol is also found in several toners as an astringent & a preventative of fungal growth the CO Safe Personal Care Bill is acting up into banning its use. Which would entail perfume too, perhaps!

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics began as a self-regulatory body within the industry grouping colleagues in the small personal care products industry with the aim of a peer-reviewed scientifically verifiable position on products. "When the FDA introduced the FDA Globalization Act of 2008, it appeared as if CFSC was pressing for stringent, and perhaps unnecessary, regulations to be included in the act requiring product registration fees that would be prohibitive for many of the CFSC small business signers. At that time, it also began to become apparent that perhaps an overzealous rush headlong was overstating the immediate necessity for some of the requirements suggested to be included in the act and that perhaps established authorities were not being consulted to provide scientific documentation that would anchor CFSC’s position with actual facts and tempered scientific reasoning." [source] Reminds you of something? Thought so!

Colorado, USA has a proposed a bill, proposed for effect for September 2011, known as The Colorado Safe Personal Products Act, unfortinately so broad and vague that if it passes under its present guise the personal care shelves in stores would go bare! You can read the entire bill here. To follow the bill as it is updated click here and change the range to House Bills 1201-1250 and then scan down to 1248. [source Kayla Fioravanti] There is a hearing scheduled for March 1, 2010 (including sponsors and opposers) while the committee is meeting in room 0107.
Concern might be valid, but like someone questions, "Will these chemicals be ones that cause cancer when topically applied at normal usage percentges or will this information come from studies in which rats were injected with 100% concentration of said ingredients? There is a big difference between putting an diluated ingredient on the skin than injecting an ingredient into the body at full concentration."

It might be wise to be vigilant, because if this paranoia about possible toxics and carcinogens escalates the results would be akin to putting us in a plastic bubble. We're all for the informed choice of the consumer, but surely alcohol would have to be directly ingested and what's more in great quantities to effectuate such radical repurcussions such as tumour growths etc. Not to mention that alcoholics in poor situations are known to imbue clear alcohol to get their fix for years on end without necessarily cancers being the cause of their (eventual?) demise [of course no specific study has been conducted either, but let's just entertain the thought for the sake of our argument here a minute].
Food for thought at any rate! And possibly an incentive to write to your local Congressman/woman.

Here is a list of Colorado based small businesses who have raised their concerns and oppose the new Bill for further reading:
Oppose the Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act Donna Maria Coles Johnson, IBN Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act :: Take Action Immediately, Kayla Fioravanti, Essential Wholesale Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act Kelly Bloom, Southern Soapers Tunnel Vision, Robert Tisserand, Aromatherapy Expert and Author Colorado Safe Cosmetics Bill, Cindy Jones PhD, Sagescript Institute The Colorado Safe Personal Care Act: How Will it Affect You, Lisa Rodgers, Cactus & Ivy You Can Die From Salt, Too, Anne Marie Faiola, Bramble Berry Oppose Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act, Katherine Corkill, Sterling Minerals From the President – Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act, Leigh O’Donnell, HSMG Colorado versus the cosmetics industry, Sarva Natural Artisan Soaps When Safety in Personal Care, Isn’t Safety At All, Jerell Klaver, Salus Natural Body Care The Colorado No Product Law, Marge Clark, Nature’s Gift Tilting at Windmills: The Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act, Emily Topsham, GCD Spa Costly Confusion in Colorado: The Bubble Bill, Donna Maria Coles Johnson, IBN Related Articles: Colorado Proposes Ban on Cosmetics It Claims Cause Cancer, Cosmetic Design Bill Proposes the Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act, Global Cosmetic Industry


  1. Tara C18:56

    That's crazy - are they going to outlaw booze too?

  2. This is so silly! So, if they are going to pass this, then perhaps they also need to get rid of synthetic pesticides that are linked to breast cancer. Ah, but that industry is run by a huge cartel isn't it?
    I could go on and on...but I'll spare you(s).

  3. Tara,

    it doesn't make sense, I agree. Supposedly, the alcohol in cosmetics has been linked to carcinogenic properties. I wonder what would that mean for contact with delicate inside our digestive track tissue, but perhaps they ommited to do that study *enter sarcasm*
    A good thing can be ruined by hyperbole. And I think we're faced with a hyperbole phase of history in our days.

  4. Rox,

    it's absolutely innane, because except for the pesticides, what about the non-sustainable sources (coal, tar, oil etc), the pollution in the air, the contamination of agricultural water etc. It just doesn't compute that a little alcohol in the toner or even in a perfume would be so much more hazardous.
    Still, I think they're regulating the cr@p out of everything just to make up jobs; or possibly to have the public opinion diverted from other important topics.

  5. "You shouldn't have to be a chemist to go out and buy shampoo and lotions," Primavera said in an interview at the Capitol. "We're talking about ingredients in our personal care products that cause cancer."

    Primavera, a cancer survivor, said the European Union bans roughly 1,100 chemicals from products sold on that continent while the Food and Drug Administration in Washington has taken steps to only ban 10 of those toxins. In addition to cancer, she said medical evidence shows some of the chemicals could cause reproductive issues in young women as well.

    "There was no genetic reason why I should have gotten cancer," she said. "There was no environmental reason. I never smoked. I never drank. I had my weight in perfect condition. I turned over every rock to figure out why I got cancer but the personal care products was a rock I didn't turn over and once I found out this is an issue and could be an issue for our citizens, I think we need to step in and take a role to protect (them)."

    I hope you don't mind me posting Ms. Primavera's statement (certainly remove it if you fear it is too "political")

    While I DO think the gesture to "make products safer for our citizens" is a good one, after reading Diane Primavera's personal statement and reasons to initiate the Bill, it seems to me that she is desperate to find ANYTHING to blame for her bout with cancer. By no means do I belittle her battle with cancer (or the challenges it brought her and her family) but I do think she is being a bit of an extremist to assume that some cream-based foundation, a little blush and a squirt or two of Tommy Girl caused her cancer.....I mean, come on now.

  6. Oh good grief! I haven't yet read any of the links you've embedded but it does seem extreme.

    Colorado is also quite conservative overall, save the enclaves of Boulder and parts of Denver, so this is surprising. True, the state takes many of its environmental resources seriously when it comes to conservation, but it's probably not at the forefront of consumer rights and healthful legal protections (such as Oregon or Washington, etc.).

    Do keep us informed (a bit embarrassing that you're informing me of this all the way from Greece!)

    NB: Ava Luxe has also relocated from sunny California to less-temperate Boston. I enjoy her oils still, but oh how I miss her range of EDPs!

  7. Hi E -

    This sounds too ridiculous for words. I responded to your post over at PoL with a thought about how these zealots might want to think twice before taking on Big Pharm, not to mention the consumer product giants. The point is that they're the ones with the money -- sometimes it seems as though they are the only ones -- and big campaign donations have a way of quieting grandstanding politicians here in the good ol' USA. So we shall see.

    Then another poster, a nurse, mentioned alcohol wipes and sanitizers used in hospitals, and the possibilities of MRSA and other resistant bacteria increasing exponentially without the use of alcohol to control them in the medical setting. Interesting point.

  8. I'm from Colorado, so at least if this becomes a voting issue I'll get a say ... but I don't live in CO at the moment (not even in the US).
    So I'll pass word to my mother, as she's both politically minded and a lover of perfume.

    I'd hate to see something like this go through. One example of a perfumer who would be effected is Dawn Spencer Hurwitz (DSH) ( ) whose fragrances are excellent, and who is also quite popular. I've even had the pleasure of meeting her and she was lovely!

  9. There are alot of medicines that are alcohol based too!

    what a load of ...... rubbish :)

  10. Marko,

    far be it from us to belittle anyone's battle with cancer, I agree!
    I do know however that when something bad happens someone asks why and when there isn't an obvious response/reason, they start hair-splitting. It could be that all the doubtful ingredients do contribute. But I doubt they generate tumours by themselves. It probably has to be some genetic predisposition, some environmental exposure to chemicals etc etc. Things like that are really complicated and every case is unique.

  11. Joe,

    who can argue with that?
    As to informing, I make it my business to be informed for myself first of all, so I'm glad to spread the word.

    Thanks for the info on AL: you're absolutely right, my mistake!

  12. P,

    hi there, how are you darling?

    Well, as always you hit the nail on the head. There are corporate interests which make this very interesting to watch and puzzle me out of my tiny little brain. The point by Shar on POL is excellent: how can anyone NOT let nurses and doctors and anyone in contact with bacteria use alcohol or alcohol-based products is beyond me. What are the risks of letting bacteria and micro-organisms thrive? Immeasurable, no doubt.

  13. Prox,

    I was about to mention DSH myself and then thought better of it and decided not to create a panic...yet!
    In our communication Dawn was really concerned with this and is wary of what happens next. It's not exactly very promising on the greater scheme of things (which was also my point).
    Let's see...
    I think it might be good if people did take action. Thank you!

  14. M,

    wouldn't it be odd if all those alcohol wipes were eradicated...I use them a lot! And alcohol-based gels for medication etc. You're absolutely right, it doesn't make sense.

  15. it's horrifying but also just too too silly- presumably governments make a lot of money out of perfume through tax and they must know a lot of large companies rely heavily on their beauty lines so to make things this hard surely wouldn't happen? (she says hopefully because honestl if it did it would be unthinkable)

  16. With the change of this particular aspect in the manufacturing of perfumes and fragrances, its quite possible that they will be able to construct another way that could even be a better possibility for making perfumes and other fragrances without the use of banned substances.

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  17. Miss Heliotrope09:17

    As someone in her 30s with terminal cancer, the same non drinking, smoking, no genetic reason, walked & did yoga & so on - but also, only use "green" skin care products & so on, you know what?

    It's mostly bad luck -

    I dont wear make up & have only recently taken up perfume to entertain & enjoy - the big levels of nasties in society are far more likely to be problematic, than personal care things.

    Playing with nice scents is a better way to spend what little time I have than being stressed about how I got this.

  18. Miss Heliotrope,

    words cannot express how sad this admission made me. I sympathize, having had a relative with cancer.

    If it helps any, there are many people with terminal cancer who manage to live many years nevertheless. And science is advancing every day. So I'm keeping all fingers and toes crossed for you!

    As to bad luck, yes, I know. It's not what we do, but what our genes and what our environment does for us. Had a relative who's an athlete, always been restrained and never smoked, have a double by-pass before the age of 55. I call this bad luck indeed.

    Best of luck to you!!

  19. Anonymous18:58

    Late to the party, but... This has absolutely NOTHING to do with saftey, health, or protecting the public. If it did, as mentioned earlier, the bill would include all the additives that are known carcinogens like phtalates, GMO crops, heavy metals and other undesirables in our water system (fluoride comes to mind) and all the horrors routinely pumped into meats, fish and dairy products. If this had anything to do with public health, the clean air act would have passed. No, this has everything to do with the ultimate religion: money. Follow the green paper road and you find out who stands to make the most out of this and how.


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