Environmental Defence, along with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, commissioned a study of perfumes sold in Canada. The group says the study shows that perfumes often contain a dozen of what it calls “secret chemicals” not listed on labels — chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions or disrupt hormones.
A group tested 17 name-brand perfumes colognes and “body sprays” for men and women:
- Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio
- Jennifer Lopez J. Lo Glow
- Calvin Klein Eternity (for women)
- Bath & Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom
- Britney Spears Curious
- Calvin Klein Eternity (for men)
- Quiksilver (for men)
- Victoria’s Secret Dream Angels Heavenly
- Coco Mademoiselle Chanel
- Clinique Happy
- Abercrombie & Fitch Fierce
- American Eagle Seventy Seven
- Hannah Montana Secret Celebrity
- Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue
- Old Spice After Hours Body Spray
- AXE Bodyspray For Men – Shock
- Halle by Halle Berry
All of them contained secret chemicals not listed on the label. On average, they contained 14 chemicals, some are which have been linked to estrogen disruption, sperm production disruption and even cancer, the group says.
According to the study, Calvin Klein Eternity perfume for women, for example, contained 14 unlisted chemicals. Giorgio Armani Aqua Di Gio for men had 17 chemicals, while American Eagle 77 spray contained 24 unlisted chemicals.
The study found the perfumes also contained an average of 10 “sensitizing” chemicals, which are chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions, such as nausea, headaches, wheezing, and vomiting.
The questionable chemicals include:
- Diethyl phthalate (DEP)
- Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
- Musk ketone
- Benzyl salicylate
- Benzyl benzoate
- Butylphenyl methylpropional
The report says that galaxolide and tonalide — two synthetic musks linked to toxicity to the endocrine system – were found in 16 of the 17 perfumes. A recent cord-blood study by the Environmental Working Group found those two chemicals inside the bodies of most babies tested.
Twelve of the 17 products in this study were listed as containing DEP, a chemical found in 97 per cent of Americans that is linked to abnormal development of reproductive organs in baby boys and sperm damage in adult men.
Jane Houlihan, senior vice president for research at the Environmental Working Group, says these chemicals easily find their way into our bodies.
“Fragrance chemicals are inhaled or absorbed through the skin, and many of them end up inside people’s bodies, including pregnant women and newborn babies,” she said.