What it means when you see “Fragrance” on the label
What should I look for on the label?
The next time you pick up your favorite candle or shampoo, check the ingredients on the label. Does it say “fragrance” or “parfum”? If so, there’s a lot more than meets the eye.
What is it?
The listed ingredient “fragrance” is on MANY common household products and though it sounds nice, the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services has tracked over 5,000 chemicals–in limitless combinations–used in these products today.
Why is it used?
This common ingredient is used to provide off a specific aromatic scent that appeals uniquely to each person shopping the aisles. It’s also used to cover up unwanted odors. Hello bathroom spray.
Why is this a big deal?
Personal care products, by law, must specifically list all their ingredients on the label, however, companies can get away with simply listing “Fragrance” or “Parfum” because it’s considered a trade secret. This makes it very easy for companies to hide what exactly is in their product. While candles and room sprays are not categorized as personal care products, they still take advantage of this abbreviated way to make scads of ingredients disappear by simply writing “fragrance”. How convenient.
What exactly is behind the “fragrance” label?
Benzene is just one example listed on the SC Johnson Company’s ingredient list for their candles and room sprays. No problem, right? Oh except that “Benzene” is listed by the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services as a “Known Human Carcinogen”. And don’t get us started on paraffin wax, which is created from petroleum byproducts and used in most candles, but if you want to look into it, we’ll let you make up your own mind. Sure, there are safe levels of chemical consumption through the air, but is it really worth it to test this out (and knowingly add to it) on ourselves or our kids?Some safe alternatives for candles especially are ones made completely with soy. But be careful because there are some that have soy in them and can claim to be soy candles, even though they’re still mixed with paraffin wax. Make sure they’re 100% soy and you’re good to go. So here’s the toxic truth: if you pick something up and read listed on the ingredients they use “Fragrance”, you’d be best served to put it back on the shelf. Sources: https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/fairfresheners.pdf http://www.whatsinsidescjohnson.com/us/en/fragrances-you-can-trust/our-palette https://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsroom/releases/2005/january31/index.cfm http://www.anapsid.org/cnd/mcs/candles.html