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FRAGRANCE CHEMICALS
AS TOXIC SUBSTANCES

Toxic Chemicals in Fragrance Products:

Acetaldehyde - found in perfume, dyes,fruit and fish preservatives, and flavor fragrances, which produces a fruityodor. It is a suspected animal carcinogen and has been classified in GroupB2 as a probable human carcinogen of low carcinogenic hazard by the EPA.It can cause eye, skin and respiratory tract irritation. No informationis available on the reproductive or developmental effects of acetaldehydein humans; however studies in animals have shown that acetaldehyde hascrossed the placenta to the fetus.

Acetone - found in cologne, dishwashingdetergent, nail enamel remover, and cosmetics. Inhalation can cause dizziness,nausea, drowsiness, loss of coordination, eye, nose and throat irritationand in severe cases tremors and coma. Acetone is on the Hazardous SubstanceList because it is flammable.

Acetonitrile - found in perfume, dyes,and pharmaceuticals. It can cause irritation of the mucous membranes, weakness,headaches, tremor, numbness, and nausea. High concentrations can causeconvulsions and death.

Benzaldehyde - found in perfume, hairspray,laundry bleach, deodorants, detergents, shampoo, soap, dishwasher detergent.It can be a sensitizer, also causing eye, throat, lung, and skin irritation.It may cause kidney damage.

Benzyl Acetate - found in perfume, cologne,fabric softener, after shave, deodorants, hairspray, bleach, air freshener.Inhalation can cause eye, throat and respiratory irritation.

Benzyl Alcohol - found in perfume, cologne.shampoo, air fresheners, laundry bleach, detergent, fabric softener, deodorants,soap, nail enamel remover, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and ointments. Itcan cause dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, weakness,skin, eye, mucous membrane and respiratory tract irritation.

Benzyl chloride - found in perfume, dyes,pharmaceuticals, and a flavor fragrance. It was formerly used as an irritantgas in chemical warfare. It can cause skin, eye, lung, and mucous membraneirritation, dizziness, headache, fatigue, and is a suspected animal carcinogen.The EPA has classified benzyl chloride as a Group B2, which is a probablehuman carcinogen of low carcinogenic hazard.

Camphor - found in perfume, fabric softener,shaving cream, nail polish, air fresheners, and dishwasher detergent. Itcan cause eye, nose and throat irritation, dizziness, nausea, confusion,and tremors.

Cinnamaldehyde - found in perfume and flavors.It can cause eye, nose, skin and respiratory tract irritation.

Citronella - found in perfume, fabric softener,shampoo, and nail enamel remover. It can cause eye, nose, skin and respiratorytract irritation.

Dimethyl sulfate - found in perfume, dyes,and pharmaceuticals. It was formally used in chemical warfare. It is asuspected animal carcinogen and a Group B2, probable human carcinogen.It can also cause eye, mouth, skin, and respiratory tract irritation. Severeexposure may cause lung, heart, kidney and central nervous system damage,convulsions, delirium, paralysis, coma, and even death.

Ethanol - found in perfume, hairspray,shampoo, air fresheners, nail polish, nail enamel remover, laundry detergent,shaving cream, and dishwashing detergent. It can cause lung, kidney andliver damage, fatigue, nausea, tremors, anemia, respiratory tract irritation,and conjunctivitis.

Limonene - found in perfume, flavor fragrances,soap, deodorant, nail polish and remover, fabric softener, air freshener,aftershave, dishwasher detergent, waterless hand cleaners, and pesticides.Limonene is used for its lemon-like flavor and odor. It is a known animalcarcinogen, yet it is widely used in insect repellents for flea controlon pets such as cats and dogs.  It can be a skin, eye, nose, throatand respiratory tract irritant and it can cause headaches. It is a skinsensitizer.

Linalool - found in perfume, cologne, airfreshener, aftershave, shaving cream, soap, hand lotion, fabric softener,laundry detergent, and dishwashing liquid. It can cause central nervoussystem damage such as confusion, depression, and dizziness.

Methylene chloride (dichloromethane) -found in some shampoos, cologne, and paint and varnish remover. In 1988it was banned by the FDA; however in a 1991 EPA Report on Fragrances, methylenechloride was still found in fragranced products. In this report, methylenechloride was listed as one of the 20 most common chemicals found in fragrancedproducts. It is carcinogenic, and can cause headache, numbness, irritability,fatigue, confusion, and central nervous system damage, eye and skin irritation.Severe exposure can cause unconsciousness and death.

Musk ambrette - found in perfume. It hasbeen proven to cause central nervous system damage, weight loss and muscleweakness in laboratory animals.

Musk tetralin (AETT) - was found in perfume,aftershave lotions, colognes, creams, and was used as a masking agent inunscented products. This chemical was found to cause irritability, degenerationof the brain neurons and changes in the spinal cord in laboratory animals.This chemical was voluntarily withdrawn by the fragrance industry in 1977but it has not been banned by the FDA. It can be reintroduced into thefragrance industry at any time and there are no guarantees that it is notbeing used now.

Styrene oxide - found in perfume and cosmetics.It can cause skin and eye irritation. In animals it is known to be a centralnervous system depressant.

a-Terpineol - found in perfume, cologne,fabric softener, air fresheners, soap, hairspray, laundry detergent andbleach, and aftershave. It produces a lilac odor. It can cause eye, nose,skin, and respiratory irritation, headache, depression and central nervoussystem damage.

Toluene (methyl benzene) - found in perfume,soap, cosmetics, nail polish removers, detergents, dyes, aerosol spraypaints, paint strippers, spot removers, gasoline,  antifreeze, andexplosives. Petroleum crude oil is the largest source of toluene. It cancause damage to the lungs, liver, kidneys, heart, and central nervous system,skin and eye irritation, numbness, dizziness, tremors, headaches, confusion,unconsciousness and death. Chronic exposure can cause loss of memory andmuscle control, brain damage, problems with speech, hearing and vision.It is interesting to note that toluene was detected in every fragrancesample collected by the Environmental Protection Agency for a 1991 report.

HEALTH EFFECTS OF FRAGRANCE CHEMICALS:

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS:

breathing difficulties                    sinus problems
nausea                                          sore throats
vomiting                                        coughing
stomach cramps                          swollen lymph glands
sneezing                                        muscle cramps
watery eyes                                   heart palpitations
exhaustion                                     rashes
trigger for asthma attacks           eczema

NEUROLOGICAL SYMPTOMS:

migraine                                        dizziness
inability to concentrate                 loss of coordination,
loss of consciousness                  seizures
tremors                                           convulsions
weakness                                       short-term memory loss
depression                                     irritability
mood swings                                  aggression
fatigue
narcotic effect of stupor, sleepinessand hallucinations

Many of the fragrance chemicals can actas sensitizers, which causes immune system damage so that you can becomeallergic to the chemical.

Written by: S. Moser, Citizens for A SafeLearning Environment


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