If we want perfume to be still authorized in public places in the European Union within ten years time from now, it is really time for the industry and authorities to act.
In Canada there is already a law that one cannot use perfume in public places (there are signs with "no scent, no smoke" regarding perfume equal to a cigarette.) The situation is developing in a similar way in the US as there are a lot of health care associations like the Lung Foundation or Cancer Prevention who are acting very strongly against perfume. The Perfume Foundation fears the EU is next.
The flowers one SEES in advertisements, will probably not be the basis for the actual SCENT of your perfume as most perfumes on the market are synthetic copies of flower's scents. When inhaling a perfume it could go to your brain but also to your lungs, your blood and your organs. As many of these synthetic perfumes are not properly tested they could cause headaches, allergies or even genetic disorders and cancers.
More specifically, perfumes containing certain phthalates could be harmful for human health (phthalates report available on request). The Perfume Foundation therefore calls for the enforcement of EU legislation on phthalates by health authorities and for the compliance with legislation in place by industry. In addition, the Perfume Foundation is very concerned about the fact that perfumes have been classed as cosmetics in a European directive and follows cosmetic regulations.
The Perfume Foundation has recently sent a petition to the European Parliament to give perfume its own directive. Enforcement of the phthalates directive In 2001, the Directive 67/548EEC has classified the phthalates DEHP and DBP as toxic substances to reproduction. These two phthalates were assigned to Category 2 which defines them as chemicals "which should be regarded as if they impair fertility in humans" and substances "which should be regarded as if they cause developmental toxicity to humans."
In January 2003, the European Parliament prohibited the use of Category 1 and 2 reproductive toxicants such as DEHP and DBP in cosmetics by amending the directive 76/768/EEC.
The new law also prohibits Category 1 and 2 carcinogens and mutagens. This classification placed DEHP and DBP in a group of chemicals that includes: cadmium chloride, benzo[a]pyrene, ethylene glycol, vinclozolin, dinoseb, and cycloheximide. In addition, the law requires that the composition of a cosmetic product and any undesirable effects on human health from using the product must be available to the public and consumers.
Member States had to comply with the directive by September 11, 2004. One year and one month later, there was no enforcement and nobody follows the law consequently, these forbidden phthalates are still on the market. Why is there a need for a Perfume Directive?
In the EU, there is currently only a Cosmetic Directive. Perfume however, is not a cosmetic as we breathe it. Cosmetics are put on the skin which requires a totally different approach. As perfume is an additive to cosmetics, as it is to household products, detergents, incenses, candles, etc., it needs its own directive.
A direct negative side effect of the directive is that it does not take into consideration the possibility of the fact that from a complex of molecules, sometimes the mode of action can be different than the mode of action of the isolated molecules. This can lead to a complex (cocktail of molecules) which can be non toxic/allergenic while one or more of the isolated molecules is toxic/allergenic and vice versa. Therefore the final product should be tested on its toxicity profile.
About the Perfume Foundation
A lot of cultures in the world use perfumes for such a long time. Perfume has a huge history, it is a worldwide heritage. And perfume used to be good for you – man used to call it "the soul of flowers". It is therefore the Perfume Foundation's mission is to be the leading authority on health issues related to fragrances and scents while contributing to the cultural heritage of perfume.
The Perfume Foundation aims to develop, conduct, coordinate, and stimulate laboratory and clinical research to improve toxicity testing of perfumes. The ultimate goal of The Perfume Foundation is to improve the standard of regulations in Europe and to establish a worldwide harmonization of the regulation of perfume.
The Perfume Foundation is a non-profit organization (ASBL/VZW in Belgium).
Contact The Perfume Foundation
Contact Person: Ms. Creezy Courtoy, Chaiman
Tel.: + 32 2 660 12 22