Friday, January 25, 2013

82 New Allergens in Perfumes: The Death Toll on Fragrances as we Know Them

Although I'm not one for the sensationalist approach,  the escalation of concerns for the potentially allergenic properties of perfumery compounds looks very grim indeed for every perfume lover out there. The classic Miss Dior, Shalimar, Mitsouko and many Guerlains, Angel, Opium, Bellodgia, perfumes with tonka beans and anything with lots of citral (look out for lemon and tangerine "notes") are to be irrevocably changed. If there is something that you absolutely love (and get no adverse reaction from) in its current -already reduced- state, better stock up, because within 2013 lots of fragrances are in for a major rehaul.


If you thought that oakmoss only, i.e. evernia prunastri, was the crux of the matter, you're in for a major surprise. Treemoss, i.e. evernia furfuracea (which acted as mossy note in the post-2008 reformulated chypres that demanded it) is coming into axing and the low-atranol versions of oakmoss have not really managed to convince perfumers of its ability to pose convincingly for what is lost in translation from the older formulae.

Of course one could argue that some classics are already semi-ruined: The classic 1947 Miss Dior (now sold as Miss Dior L'original) is already sent to the back-burner Peoria of limited distribution, but its upstart (the renamed Miss Dior Cherie) isn't safe either; the youthful cheekiness has been effaced and the best-selling Dior smells more like Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle than its own self. The famous YSL Opium, already in transvestite gear, is set to become a eunuch, due to the eradication of eugenol and isoeugenol, spicy molecules naturally present in cloves, mace, bay leaves, rose oil, basil and other plants. As to Chanel No. 5, which raised the flag of the press, thanks to its constant on the front of everyone's mind when thinking "perfume", the truth is it has been so attenuated through the years that any claim on Grasse jasmine and adherence to the 1921 formula sounds perfectly ridiculous to anyone who has some vintage bottles stashed in their fragrance closet. If a shiver of fear went down your spine reading that jasmine and rose are to be restricted as well, fear not: most commercial perfumery (even the very best brands) just use hedione and phenyl ethyl alcohol with citronellol for those two notes respectively, with a garland of something else to boost them this way or that; I have already stated how the industry uses the same 20 ingredients over and over resulting in fragrance sameness....It's no accident.

Although the fervor with which the European Commission is inspecting scented products instead of some of its rotten political realities, which have effectively created a chasm between North and South and have posed a risk for the very solidarity of the European Union, seems misplaced, the issue isn't totally without scientific basis.

"Based on the review available and on multiple cases of allergy reported by dermatologists, the SCCS [Scientific Community on Consumer Safety] identified 82 substances (54 chemicals and 28 natural extracts) that can be categorised as 'established contact allergens' in humans, including the 26 that were already on the list." The document goes on to highlight that, based on the combined results from animal experiments and the analysis of their chemical structure, 26 other individual chemicals where categorised as “likely contact allergens”. The SCCS also reveals that in addition, 35 individual chemicals and 13 natural extracts were also categorised as “possible contact allergens” with three further specific substances recognized as being “potent allergens” and not considered safe in consumer products." [source: SCCS publishes fragrance allergen fact sheet]

The above showcases one common misconception concerning the restrictions of certain ingredients in perfume & scented products manufacturing (including skin care, detergents, hair dyes and the like), namely that it is natural extracts that are being axed due to reasons of high costs. This is plainly NOT the case. It's much more complex than that and litigation as well as technical problems within the industry, as mentioned before, factor in. As you can see above, by the numbers given, plenty of synthesized molecules (nature-identical or synthetic) are also being axed; in fact the synthetics to be eradicated outnumber the naturals greatly (54 to 28)!
What is most alarming is that this is showing no signs of stopping there: 26 other individual chemicals are categorized as "likely contact allergens". In addition 35 individual chemicals and 13 natural extracts are also categorized as possible contact allergens with 3 further specific substances recognized as being "potent allergens" not considered safe in consumer products.

Although ever since 2003 there has been a series of 26 individual ingredients which have been identified as allergenic and are required by law in the EU and in the US to be mentioned on the label (things like coumarin, hydroxycitronellal, Lilial, citronellol, etc), the percentage of people with some form of allergic sensitivity to consumer products with a scent is calculated to be 1 in every 3 Europeans.
Even though the usual repercussion of skin contact with these questionable ingredients in perfumes usually results in topical redness and a rash, it can escalate to eczema, a more severe allergic immune system reaction which even when treated can remain dormant for a lifetime, waiting to be re-triggered via another exposure to the allergen that first made it erupt. It is important to note that even though some ingredients do not cause a reaction in vitro, they can potentially do so in vivo thanks to the interaction with sunlight, air or even the body's own biological processes which turn them into allergens. But there is an inconsistency.

 ‘While I do think the consumer’s health and wellbeing should always be our first priority, imagine if Brussels authorised for all nut products to be banned or restricted because a few people are allergic,’ Roja Dove, a prime industry figure and a manufacturer of luxury niche fragrances, says. ‘Just look at basil. I have to list it on the back of packaging if I use more than a certain percentage because it’s one of the original list of 26 the European Commission decided must be declared. ‘But a chef can take a huge bunch of basil, chop it up and sprinkle it over food, and their hands will be covered with basil oil. There are no guidelines there.’

Thankfully it is claimed that an exposure level in cosmetic products of less than 0,01% (or 10 mg/100g of cosmetic product) would prevent allergic reactions in the majority of cases. As such, the use of kojic acid (a skin lightener for cosmetic use on melasma and age spots) for instance is considered safe in concentrations of 1% in compound of leave-on creams for use on face and hands.
According to The Times, the European Commission are expected to propose new regulations within the fragrance industry in January 2014, when considerations of both the economic importance of perfume (earning £1.5 billion a year for France alone) and the actual number of perfume-induced allergies occurring might be put into perspective. The sheer process of re-evaluating all the formulae currently on the market and reformulating all those perfumes at no monetary compensation should definitely sting for all the fragrance companies.

It remains to be seen whether a subtle visual twist in packaging (as before) or an augmented list of allergens on the label will be the deciding factor in signaling the changed formula of any given perfume. At any rate, consider yourselves warned.


  1. This is horrifying...

  2. SS,

    it's certainly not encouraging. :-(

    One would think that there was "safety in synthetics" (I mean, they're expressly manufactured to be a certain way) but that's not the case.

  3. More and more I see a future where everything will be bland. Colorless, tasteless, odorless, completely safe, hypoallergenic and sterilized. By then our freedoom will also be gone, of course, and we will be little more than children being watched over by faceless, "benevolent" authorities.

    I bet the Mayans didn't see THAT coming.

    Anyway, when the end of the world comes I'll be the one wearing vintage Opium extrait with abandon.

  4. Between this and the postal regulations getting tighter and tighter - I'm getting truly depressed.

  5. I can't understand why the bureaucrats don't just go down the same road they went with cigarette manufacturers and say, "Okay, you can market your products, but you have to put warning labels on the packaging." A simple "This product may cause skin irritation in certain susceptible individuals" ought to cover it.

    But it's a lost cause. The bureaucrats have won. Most fragrances in the last decade haven't been worth smelling, and with a few exceptions (Serge Lutens and Etat Libre d'Orange, mostly) I've pretty much given up expecting to enjoy new scents, especially mass-market. Fortunately, I have enough vintage bottles, mostly from the eighties, to last me the rest of my life, so I'll just wear those and dream of better days past and perhaps (if people come to their senses) better days to come.

  6. Anonymous18:52

    I hope there will be many nice guerlain "room sprays" in the future ;)

  7. Diana S.22:53

    I'm really sick of big brother and the EU is even worse than the US. I wish that perfumers would just add something to the label warning people to try in a small spot before wearing because it might cause a reaction, and then go to town with whatever they feel like using as ingredients. Let market demand determine what is ultimately used in fragrance production. If the ingredient causes too many problems, it won't sell and fragrance houses will stop using it eventually.

  8. Anonymous23:34

    why can't they just label the boxes with the potential allergens and call it day? it seems like they are on a witch hunt to completely ruin the perfume industry. who gave these perfume-haters the hatchet? they are running amok with it and it is not pretty.


  9. If they are eliminating all these allergens for perfume, are foods next? I have Celiac disease, and I can't handle wheat, barley, rye or spelt because of the gluten in them. Will they outlaw those grains? I admit that that would make it easier for me to shop for food, but, I don't want them to do that. Product labeling is really useful, though. Thorough ingredient listings are wonderful, and then I can choose what I want!

  10. Anonymous05:57

    Carol (or anybody) - what did you mean about the postal regulations getting tighter? I buy my perfumes from niche perfumers in other places, and simply avoid my known allergens. Surely these ingredients will continue to be used -- although more expensively.

    Forgive ne for asking (I am from US) but why did EU allow IFRA to come into being? I hate the whole concept of the "nanny state". I live in Alaska where we still have bear and moose wandering by our houses. Rather than marvelling at the sight, recent newcomers want them all shot "for safety". There IS no absolut (pun intended) safety. Somebody above used cigarettes as an example. Label the health risks and let people take their chances. I have asthma and carry a small pharmacy in my purse. I only ask for a little sympathy, not the ban of things I'm allergic to.

    Can you not vote to get rid of IFRA? Or zero out their budget? The EU has bigger problems than perfume. Thank you for the warning to stock up.


  11. Patuxxa,

    this is exactly what bothers me as well. Everything is getting homogenized, all rough edges smothered down for us; it can also be a bad thing, sometimes!

  12. Carol,

    indeed those postal regulations changing (and making the air travel of full bottles almost verboten) on top of everything make one stop and think: are these are most important problems in the world right now?!?

  13. C,

    the problem with warning labels, much as they have been touted as a panacea, is that in the case of perfumes they can only warn those who are already cognizant of their condition. Contact dermatitis and allergy shock however may take some time of exposure to an allergen to erupt and what didn't bother in the past can -with continuous exposure- bother in the future. Unlike cigarettes where the damage is cumulative and certain, perfume ingredients do not create a certain outcome, it's very sketchy, which allows for a far greater leeway for litigation. Which is what companies and the EU Commission fear most!

    Indeed many fragrances have been declawed in the recent past. It's a shame...

  14. A,

    that would be one clever way of dealing with it! (unless the respiratory police intervenes...)

  15. Diana S.,

    your idea isn's a bad one, a patch tech like with hair dyes, before every application. It's not very practical though for something that is to be used every day by most people (in contrast to a dye used once a month or so).
    On top of that, you're certainly right that demand and offer are related and an ingredient that would cause a problem would be naturally eradicated through its sheer problematics vis a vis commercial results, but the fear of litigation is what makes companies and the bureaucrats want to PREVENT rather than fix later on. I'm afraid that this is something that is very hard to bypass, which is why we're more or less stumped on what will happen.

    And which is why even though nothing is FINALIZED legislatively, I'm pretty sure that the companies in question will do their utmost to prevent having to discontinue things altogether and will try to COMPLY by reformulating anyway. That's the whole point I'm making really (for anyone who didn't understand, not you in particular!)

  16. J,

    it's not a pretty sight, no.

    I think there's a bit of paranoia on what concerns our lives on the whole. People think that if they don't consume this or that, if they get rid of certain ingredients out of products and foodstuff, if they "clean" the air etc will not get cancers, heart problems, etc etc. Well, newsflash, these problems existed even before our environment and our food and our products became so artificial, so there are absolutely no guarantees that doing any of those things would result in living healthily eternally. But that is a very hard truth to digest and there are industries that have made it their bread & butter to tell us otherwise.

    As to labels with allergens being the trick to save us all (and our beloved perfumes), like I said to Pyramus above, they present a tiny problem: "The problem with warning labels, much as they have been touted as a panacea, is that in the case of perfumes they can only warn those who are already cognizant of their condition. Contact dermatitis and allergy shock however may take some time of exposure to an allergen to erupt and what didn't bother in the past can -with continuous exposure- bother in the future. Unlike cigarettes where the damage is cumulative and certain, perfume ingredients do not create a certain outcome, it's very sketchy, which allows for a far greater leeway for litigation. Which is what companies and the EU Commission fear most!"

  17. Jenna,

    haven't you noticed that food is already much blunder than it used to be? I think we're slowly building into a tasteless, scentless, no risk taking world, but the bad thing is it's a nanny state shoving it down our throats, instead of it being our own free choosing.

    As I said above, labeling is helpful, but in cases as those pertaining to skin allergies it's trickier than with foodstuff. Plus perfume is seen to be so frivolous and unnecessary, in contrast to food (which is actually a pretty basic thing). You just know that people will shrug and say "one shouldn't wear any" if pressed.

  18. Isabella,

    the postal regulations have recently changed making air post of perfumes a much more difficult affair: I do know that UK carriers and Switzerland carriers for the time being (it looks to be expanded) are refusing to ship whole bottles of perfume due to them being considered hazardous, flammable material (BS if you ask me, but there you have it).

    As to the EU and voting out any board of control:
    Are you kidding me? (No offense meant by the bold, just emphasizing my disbelief) .We can't even vote to get rid of the "rescue" packages they're sending to Greece and Spain and Portugal, seemingly to "help out" and in reality to restructure the banks (while ruining the economy with the austerity to make enough money to repay the rescue packages interests alone!), do you think we could vote to get rid of those control bodies?
    Alas, the bureaucracy is so tight and the intricacies so entangled that the great vision of a united Europe has sunk in technicalities, fear and a centralization that benefits the financially strongest only at the great disadvantage of the struggling.
    And I'm saying all this coming from an ULTRA bureaucratic state myself. :-/

    As you so wisely say the EU (and the world at large) has bigger problems than perfume right now. But sending us (and perfume companies and IFRA and other boards on consumer safety) on a wild goose chase buys time and keeps all nicely diverted. ;-)

  19. Merlin10:25

    It's quite scary that one can develop eczma so easily - I have a friend who suffers from it and it is really an awful condition to have. Perhaps I should move into a spacesuit!
    And with all this scare about perfume molecules, I received this article called 'Frankenfish'. Apparently they have genetically engineered a breed of salmon that grow at a super-fast pace, and, without much long term testing are planning to introduce them soon to the market. One concern is that if any are ever released in the wild, they could decimate the natural species. Now THAT is frightening.

  20. Lynne15:46

    This is the result of dumbing down everything to eliminate risk! Thus, we have plain vanilla. Apparently this is what the US and other leftist countries want as the US elected the "Nanny state president." The pendulum will swing, it always does. However, perfume et al will suffer in the meantime :(

  21. Anonymous16:20

    It seems so inconsistent. Why should the fragrance industry be soley responsible. These chemicals are all around us. Are national parks, public parks, restaurants, grocery stores, cafes, agriculture, honey farmers, etc. all going to be put on the chopping block too. It does not make any logical sense. All these restrictions are going to cause a situation much like War of the World or Stephen King's The Stand. We are going to become so protected from bacterias thru overuse of antibiotics and regulations suchas these, that one little allergen or evolved bacteria is going to wipe us out.

  22. Anne22:52

    I think the real issue with labeling not necessarily helping is that it doesn't help people when someone else is wearing a perfume they're allergic to, since not knowing of an allergy until you've been exposed to the allergen multiple times is standard. I have a vague memory of having to wait in a doctor's office after the second and/or third shots in a vaccine series (either HPV or rabies - I forget which) to make sure I didn't have a reaction. However, I think Roja Dove is right about the equivalency to banning nuts, which they would never do, even though there are people who are sufficiently allergic that a whiff of peanut butter across the room cause a reaction. Most people would consider it overkill to ban peanut butter completely in a public place, but perfectly appropriate to expect them not to smear it all over the table or to eat it around someone they knew had an allergy, and I think they really should go with a similar rule of thumb for perfume.

    I also totally think that reducing the number of potentially hazardous chemicals people are exposed to (and only using antibacterial cleaners and antibiotics when absolutely necessary) will help with certain illnesses that seem to have become much more common nowadays (at least in the US) like autoimmune disorders, but the real problem with overexposure isn't perfume the luxury item. It's the stuff like dishsoap, laundry detergent, many brands of skincare and makeup, a lot of the plastic used to package food. And if they're restricting the use of fragrance, I'd rather they do it to the cheap hand soaps and bodywash I buy at the supermarket. I want to be able to choose where I'll take my potentially hazardous chemical/allergen exposure. I'm perfectly happy if my dishwasher gel lacks "Sparkling Lemon scent" or my face cream PEG-whatever, but I do care if my perfumes lose their basil or jasmine or oakmoss or other note.

  23. Miss Heliotrope04:58

    Sadly, we all agree & have gone over our pieces time & again.

    I do wonder whether if the ban effected something not generally deemed female & frivolous (car fuel? food like in your article?) there would be serious protest; but "everyone" knows perfume is merely used by silly women...

    How about civil action? Everyone out in the streets wearing heavy scent & spraying all those they meet - the best smelling protest movement in history.

  24. Anonymous05:29

    I'm with Anne on this one. I've seen this one coming for quite a while now. We are all inundated with overpowering fragrances, not only in our toiletries and cleaning products,
    but almost all of our foods contain flavor/color additives, which consequently impart that particular aroma ...banana,peach,honey etc. Which, of course, triggers the brain to think--yum! Looks orange, tastes like orange, it must be orange! We seriously need to take it down a few notches (if not more), my shampoo doesn't need to linger in my bathroom 2 hours after I've showered. My deodorant doesn't have to be the middle note to my perfume (ugh). I could go on and get the picture. Please, I don't want get started on fabric softeners (who needs perfume). Back in the day, we used to apply perfume to our pulses. So that if, and when, you happened to be in close proximity to someone, your own chemistry essence exuded from your person. Ha! so much for that. It's our fault really, we asked for our daily dosage of antidepressant fragrances and the industry accommodated us. We might be uplifted and ravenous, but we also got a case of contact dermatitis.

  25. I freak out when I read about the potential for no. 5 being reformulated and ordered a back up bottle accordingly. It looks like I am going to have to load on Mitsouko and Shalimar. I find it sad that this body of people 'has' to ban everything just because 2 or 3 percent had an allergy? My question is how many of that number has a genuine, medically proven allergy?

  26. OMG !!!

    If you are allergic - don't wear perfume!!! Rrrrrr

    I remember a skin care sales lady telling me once that so many people "think" they have "sensitive" skin! They didn't - just wanted to feel and appear "special" - which is really stupid as the sensitive ranges seem to cost More!!! Nuts!!
    I bet there are alot of people who do this with perfume too!Rrrrr
    We get the rough end of the stick Helg!!! RRRRRrrrrrr

  27. Merlin,

    eczema isn't pretty or comfortable. However usually it's not that easy to develop, it's different than contact dermatitis (which is pretty common). This whole "live into a spacesuit" mentality is what gets to me. Sterilized lives can't be by definition be full lives.

    Re: food, the issue is of course much more alarming, though it's not safety or litigation but sheer concern for profit that directs the gears there.
    I will never forget a broadcast produced by Greek TV with a prominent journalist here which talked about GMO and interviewed the president of Mosanto. In the interview he proposed as the definitive claim for the safety of the GMO products they produce and the legislation concerning whether the consumer would be informed (in EU it's imperative that there is an indication for it on the label, in US it was not -at least the time of broadcast) "well, people have been consuming these for years now, nothing happened!!" It was chilling actually. :-O It meant that the consumers serve as experiment subjects, more or less. "See if something happens, then we might reconsider". The whole sang froid with which the line was delivered too was positively Satanic.

  28. Lynn,

    I believe the concerns/complaints for a "nanny state" in the US have been going for some years now, at least since 2005. It was irrespective of administration from what I recall. Of course I defer to an American's greater knowledge on what happens in the US, that goes without saying, just stating what I have noticed on public fora etc.

    One would think that a citizen should be free to choose for what they deem important, but like I said, meticulous care into less significant things is easier accomplished than care of more important things. The prime thing is to show how one is doing something, no matter how on the fringe it is in the greater perspective of things. :-/

  29. Anon,

    it's already happening! :-O

    I live in a country where no one is concerned over perfume application (everyone wears whatever they like, every day; though it's in the culture to be considerate over suffocating others when in a heatwave or in crammed spaces). But the overprescribing of antibiotics (and the fact that you can buy the more generic ones at the chemist's without a prescription) means that we have developed some of the most resistant strains of bacteria and microbes in Europe! I find that scary.

  30. Anne,

    you bring excellent points into the discussion, thanks!! :-)

    Well, here's the thing: An allergic reaction of the magnitude the commission is studying has to do with skin contact. Not with inhaling the fumes off another person across the room (At the most they'd study inhaling the fumes when first spraying a perfume on yourself, because that's the only scientifically quantitative thing they can measure).
    I find that usually most people who complain on the fumes off another person (unless they have some form of severe asthma) are objecting to the specific perfume, rather than in perfume in general (This is anecdotal but based on countless tales of people having harsh opposition to X perfume in the office, but free pass on Y perfume).
    In the majority of these cases I understand it's an aesthetic sensory displeasure rather than an auto-immune response (i.e. a true allergy). Not wanting to belittle allergies -as I know that they're potentially so lethal and so frightening- but this is what I have noticed. Therefore, yes, minding one's application is good manners, but it would be a minuscule percentage that might (just might) be harmed by my application of perfume on myself 3 hours prior to meeting me, whereas using something on one own's skin does make a significant difference. Therefore the labeling makes some sense after all. But obviously it's not conclusive.

    Inoculation (I believe you're referring to tuberculosis shots for which one has to do the Mantoux test for resistance to the shot before having it) is a different issue as the "substance" goes into the muscle and from then on into the bloodstream almost immediately. Much graver!

    Your wise point on all the other products being scented is one which is being addressed, although slower than we'd like it to apparently. In the SCCS reports those products are ALSO targeted as I mentioned in passing (though because some of them such as laundry detergents, fabric softeners, even hand wash, are not leave-on but washable the law does not require to label allergens to the same rigorous attention that on leave-on products, such as skincare and perfume).

    The thing is that sensory marketing and ingredients regulations clash: The former has established that a smell connection to products and spaces is tied to enhanced sales and brand recognizability (one buys a specific detergent because of the scent as much as because of the result, a certain bar or hotel is using ambient scent to map out its identity etc). Therefore it is very difficult to persuade that the ambient scent should be reduced; it's got a strong selling advantage to it still (obviously your smart way of not wanting to mix too many smells isn't common practice for non perfume folks).

    For the moment all we can do is use unscented functional products for our homes. For instance I have turned to a millenia-honored traditional product, namely green olive oil soap "Arcadi" shredded into dust -I buy it readily shredded, not doing it myself!- for the machine when doing laundy; it's baby-clothes approved and totally natural. No risk of contact dermatitis. I don't use fabric softener -no need that way- and have done similar other little changes. It has helped to create a more or less neutral environment.

  31. C,

    I'm all for rebeling, though the scary part is how people on the street so to speak (laymen) have been brainwashed for some time now that perfume is dangerous. Even if they have never ever had a reaction in their lives they consider perfume someway now ("why use more chemicals on me" etc)

    Otherwise the street protest with lotsa perfume might be one hell of a fun party!

  32. Anon,

    as you so wisely say, it's all the additives which have distanced us from the natural smells. I mean to tackle this in a separate piece one of these days.
    But now it's too late; whole generations have forgotten the true scent of things.
    I think something went wrong in the 1980s when everyone needed to assert themselves via their olfactory cloud and the companies replied with augmenting the sillage and longevity of perfumes to high heaven. It created an outrage and tired many consumers and gave perfume a bad reputation ever since.

    I pray for the day the ambient scents go back to being what they were before we added on to them.

  33. Eld,

    this is exactly my question too. But I guess we will never really know because so many complain without having a real cause whereas many real incidents go down on medical records as "unknown cause".

    This isn't restricted to those perfume mentioned only, in fact I believe that many more of the perfumes in circulation are going to be changed in the course of the following two years, just to be "safe than sorry" (i.e. needing to be reformulated in a hurry when the directives roll out). So if you absolutely can't imagine life without X perfume, buy a couple of bottles of that just in case.

  34. M,

    yeah, I think that there's something to that as well. :-(
    There are definitely people with a real problem, but there are also nit picky people who like to complain and have a power play on that very issue. The problem is, how can me/you/the next perfume lover know which is which?

  35. Don't take my tonka away! Since Chypres are largely out of style (although I love them) I'm not mourning that so much (I dislike the new "pink" chypres and kind find what I want on ebay) but several of my current favorites have tonka, and as they are not vintage scents can't be found on ebay.

  36. Anonymous13:20

    There is a simple way to deal with the issue. Sell classic unreformulated perfume in a pack with blotters, and a booklet explaining what is in it that has subsequently been restricted and that this does not comply, and is supplied for historic educational purposes and is not to be used on skin. That deals with extrait. EDT/EDP will be ultraluxury room spray. I suspect brands will be wary of that approach, since it undermines the sensual, luxury marketing. But somewhat like selling alchohol in prohibition times, it should be possible to dream up some advertising...

    Another solution would be for the perfume companies to recruit us as guinea pigs for testing perfume on humans - I'll happily be sprayed with Mitsouko, Shalimar and L'Heure Bleue in the name of science and sign any disclaimer they want!

  37. I'm currently sat in the office with a pounding headache, my eyes streaming - why? Because my co-worker clearly got a new bottle of Miss Dior over the weekend. I could smell it from 10 metres away. If she had the sense to apply very little (as one would expect from a professional), it would not be an issue, but no, people do not realise that when they can still smell their own scent after a few hours they are wearing far too much. I adore perfume - as long as it has not been made by Dior, something in their formulations invariably triggers a headache for me. As for these EU-rules, maybe we should have some large-scale research and establish which scents and by extension which ingredients are most likely to provoke a negative reaction. Then we could maybe make sure that people don't wear these scents to work or on a plane rather than completely reformulate them? While I am all for freedom, it's upsetting and alienating to have to have the "your perfume makes me feel like someone is driving a screwdriver through my temples" talk over and over in an office context. I tend to suffer in silence and ostentatiously open the windows as much as possible but it's dreadful, especially with the trend for open office spaces.

  38. Anonymous17:51

    You cannot compare a nut allgery to a perfume allergy for this reason: nuts can be contained/warned against while in use, whereas scents/smells generally cannot because they are airborne. Therefore, saying things like "well you don't expect everyone to ban the use of all nuts at all time can you, so why should be ban the use of all scented products?" is not an equal comparison.
    It is possible to have compassion for people who's health, and possibly life, is at risk? Is it possible to set aside your need for scents in order to help others who are suffering?
    If you found out that someone near and dear to you suffered from scent allergies, perhaps you would look at it differently. It's easy not to care when it doesn't affect you directly.
    I just spent a night in the ER with anaphylaxis after inhaling someone's perfume. Super fun.


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