Fragrance. It's a word that evokes a sweet aroma, perhaps the smell of flowers wafting in your window.
But Fragrance, in cosmetics, is made from an unknown and potentially dangerous list of chemicals that are deliberately hidden from consumers.
Companies don't have to reveal the ingredients that are called Fragrance, because this is supposedly a trade secret. The FDA has not investigated chemical fragrances.
This goes back to the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973. Companies had to list ingredients in cosmetics, with the specific exception of fragrance.
Fragrances are found in personal care items like cologne, deodorant, shampoo and shaving cream. Many dish detergents and laundry detergents, along with other cleaning products use chemical fragrances.
Buying unscented products is no guarantee as Fragrance may be found in them as well.
According to the EU's Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-food Products, fragrances are in the top five known allergens.
Phthalates are slowly being phased out of use. But diethyl phthalate (DEP) is still found in many products.
DEP has been detected in the bodies of 97 percent of Americans who have been tested by the CDC. DEP can cause multiple health problems yet its use can be hidden under Fragrance.
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences said in 1986 that Fragrance is one of six categories of neurotoxins which are damaging to the brain.
Synthetic musks like Galaxolide and Tonalide have been identified by the Environmental Working Group as being found in human bodies, including infants umbilical cords.
Synthetic musks may be hormone disruptors. Some can affect androgen, estrogen and progesterone receptors. Tonalide increases the risk for estrogen-responsive human breast cancer cells.
Synthetic musks are hazardous to marine life, and build up in the food chain.
In July, 2014 the National Academy of Sciences convened the National Toxicolgy Program which agreed with a federal interagency group's 2011 conclusion on styrene. The Academy's National Research Council issued the report.
Styrene is a chemical which is considered to be a likely carcinogen.