Hidden Chemicals in Popular Perfumes

Last week, the President’s Cancer Panel warned that the many hormone-disrupting chemicals in our everyday products could up the risk of getting cancer. This week, a new analysis reports that a whole bunch of hormone-disrupting chemicals can be found in popular fragrances like American Eagle Seventy Seven and Chanel Coco.

That finding is based on a study commissioned by an environmental and health coalition called Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which brings attention to the potential dangers in common personal care and beauty products. Dubbed Not So Sexy: Hidden Chemicals in Perfumes and Colognes, this new study reports on lab tests of 17 scented products — which contained an average of 14 chemicals that weren’t even listed on the ingredient list.

Both women’s and men’s products are tainted. American Eagle Seventy Seven, for example, contained a whopping 24 hidden chemicals, while Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio contained 19 sensitizing chemicals associated with allergies and asthma.

How can perfume companies get away with putting secret chemicals in products bought by unsuspecting consumers? Because companies can claim perfumes as a trade secret; a simple word — fragrance — on an ingredient list can mask all manner of questionable chemicals that haven’t been adequately tested for consumer safety.

The fact that “fragrance” is a cover-all for scary chemicals isn’t new news. Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, as well as individual health and environmental nonprofits like Environmental Group, have been warning consumers about scary phthalates and musks in perfumes for years. What the new study shows, unfortunately, is that the government and the industry have yet to take action to make perfumes safer.

To avoid these secret chemicals, avoid personal care products that have “fragrance” on the ingredient list. Don’t worry — you won’t have to resign yourself to wearing patchouli. More perfumes that cater to health conscious and eco-friendly consumers are coming on the market — and they’ll make you smell lovely without strange chemicals.

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By Siel Ju, MNN.com


Jo S.
Jo S.about a year ago

Thank you.

Carla van der Meer


Olivia S.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thanks. I don't use perfume and can't stand to be around anyone wearing it.

Tammy Taylor
Tammy Taylor3 years ago

The Body Shop doesn't test on animals and the jumping bunny with the star don't use animals either ... but The Body Shop is a great place to start for that kind of information will be useful to you, also, Paul Mitchell hair products in salons are also animal friendly ... yay!

Roger M.
Past Member 3 years ago


Dale Overall

Interesting article, tend to avoid wearing these and prefer more natural scents without chemicals and whatever else they put into these, frightening that companies can use the all encompassing label fragrance to mask anything that goes.

A note to advertisers, if you think that I am going to even look at your ad at while reading as it assaults my eye with winking red and green or blue or whatever colours flashing at me, think again! !t just annoys the hell out of me and makes reading articles and commenting frustrating! If people want to look at your ad, they will but if you flash and move stuff around I will avoid you and your product like the plague... thank you!

Sarah M.
Sarah M.4 years ago


Cynthia H.
Cynthia H.4 years ago

I'm left with more questions than answers. If we can wear perfume, what can we wear? What is it that is bad? And please give us a list of the offenders. Call them out!

Elizabeth O.
.4 years ago

Useful information.

Patricia Geraldes

Thanks for the article.