In recent years we have been working to correct false information that has spread on the internet. Now the main stream media has pick up the false information about the cosmetic industry that is being spread by special interest groups. Honestly, whether it is a blogger or traditional method we should expect more research from the people who share the “news.”
After watching a short commercial this clip is one of the few examples in which the media actually allowed a guest to offer a rebuttal.
TODAY reached out to the International Fragrance Association about the claims about the dangers of some beauty products made in the new book No More Dirty Looks. Here is the statement they issued in response. Unfortunately, this just appears on their website and didn’t get the kind of airtime that the false information got, but at least they printed it.
Book claim: The perfume industry today is not strongly regulated.
Fact: The fragrance industry has a strong record of safety. The lack of regulatory enforcement actions by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, and by its counterparts abroad, is the testament to that. The system we have in place is a model of scientific evaluation of product and ingredient safety. The protocols for safety evaluation of ingredients are comprehensive, the testing is rigorous, the reviewers are independent, and the results are implemented immediately in a format of all-industry directives. The industry track-record shows that the most cutting-edge science drives the decisions about ingredient use in fragrance formulas, sometimes directly limiting creative freedoms of our perfumers.
Book claim: Many chemicals used in fragrances have not been studied to analyze the long-term effects of even small doses. Some chemicals used have a tendency to build up in our bodies.
Fact: The Research Institute of Fragrance Materials (RIFM) has a database of over 100,000 studies on fragrance ingredients. RIFM has developed a methodology to evaluate fragrance ingredients in the context of their common use in a variety of products and varied levels of use. The scientific name for the approach is the “Exposure-Based Quantitative Risk Assessment” and it has been described in detail in a peer-reviewed scientific publications. The bottom line is, RIFM studies dermal, respiratory, systemic, and environmental effects of specific ingredients as well as cumulative exposure to fragrance materials.
Book claim: The fragrance industry does not have to disclose or list all of the ingredients used in their formulas making it difficult for consumers to make informed decisions about what they buy.
Fact: The palette of a perfumer is limited to the ingredients and usage levels that have been assessed and deemed safe. Earlier this year, the industry published the complete list of over 3,000 ingredients used to make fragrances to demonstrate our commitment to transparency.
The fragrance formulas, however, do remain protected as they are the unique and artistic creations of the perfumers who design them. These creations are the intellectual property of the company that created them and are protected by trade secret and intellectual property laws around the world. Once released, the door would be open to counterfeit and unscrupulous manufacturing of fake, unsafe, and untested products.
Fragrance makers also have a long-standing policy of cooperating with medical professionals in identifying specific ingredients in fragrance formulas that may be of concern to their patients.
Book claim: Why are there only 9 banned ingredients in the United States and over 1000 are banned in Europe. Why is a product ok in the United States but not safe in Europe?
Fact: This statistic has no relevance to fragrance ingredients. RIFM’s scientific findings are routinely made public and form the foundation for strict industry Standards for use of fragrance ingredients. These Standards and the global fragrance industry’s Code of Practice are universal and are applied worldwide.
Book claim: Phthalates are among the chemicals used in fragrances that have been linked to health problems. If there is any chance that these could be harmful as studies have shown, why aren’t they removed?
Fact: The phthalate primarily used in fragrance formulas is DEP (diethyl phthalate). DEP has been deemed safe by legislators and regulators around the world. Specifically, the FDA, the US Congress, The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, The World Health Organization all looked into this phthalate, and unlike with other chemicals in the phthalate family, all saw no reason for concern about DEP use.
I hope this summary demonstrates how uninformed the book authors are and how wrong it would be to air their claims without careful investigation.
Source: International Fragrance Association Statement to the Today Show.