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    The Body


Dr Paula Baillie-Hamilton

The Chemical Maze

By Bill Statham

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We all like to smell nice, but are you aware of what’s in your perfume?

Read these articles, then check out the beautiful Organic Botanical Perfume Range on this site.

The Sweet Smell To Ill Health

Here is some information taken from the EWG org site

 A major loophole in federal law allows fragrance manufacturers to hide potentially hazardous chemicals in product scents, including substances linked to allergies, birth defects, and even cancer.
"Fragrance" = "Hidden Chemicals"

Take a quick look at a personal care product label, and you'll nearly always find a long list of chemical ingredients in tiny print. Chances are, somewhere in the midst of these technical chemical terms, is the simple word "fragrance."

Although companies are required by law to list all chemicals ingredients in a product, a special loophole allows them to hide what's in the "fragrance" component.

And what's hidden in that simple word can include complex mixtures of up to hundreds of chemicals that studies show may be linked to a variety of health problems, including allergies, skin reactions, endocrine/hormone disruption, and possibly even birth defects.

Companies are not required to test cosmetics for safety before they are sold. The label is the primary protection we have to make decisions about products we rub, pour, and lather on our skin and hair. Yet when it comes to fragrances, we don't even have this simple protection.

Who makes sure fragrances are safe?

The FDA, the agency responsible for overseeing product safety, does not systematically review the safety of fragrances. The FDA cannot require that fragrances be tested for safety before they are sold. Instead, the fragrance industry regulates itself, through their trade association, the International Fragrance Association, which funds and conducts safety assessments for fragrance ingredients. This self-regulating scheme has led to the widespread use of chemicals in fragrances that raise concerns when it comes to our health.

Top hazards hidden in fragranced products:


Common plasticizing ingredients linked to birth defects in the reproductive system of boys at exposure levels typical for about one-quarter of women and lowers sperm-motility in adult men.

Studies in laboratory animals show significant developmental toxicity and damage to adult reproductive, adrenal, liver, and kidney organs [5]. Under consumer pressure, some cosmetic companies recently agreed to remove phthalates from their products — but many others have not. Our product tests show phthalates in nearly three-quarters of 72 name-brand products tested [and link to not too pretty], even though none of these products contained the term "phthalate" on the ingredient label. Instead, in most cases these phthalates were almost certainly hidden in the product's fragrance.


Artificial musks accumulate in our bodies, and are often detected in breast milk and blood [7-10]. Musks come in two basic types, nitromusks and polycyclic musks. Nitromusks are linked to skin irritation, sensitization, and even cancer in laboratory studies. They are also linked to reproductive and fertility problems in women at high levels of exposure. Laboratory studies also suggest that both polycyclic musks and nitromusks may affect hormone systems.

While the European Union has banned use of some nitromusks in cosmetics and personal care products, the use of polycyclic musks as an alternative to the more toxic nitromusks has increased. In the US musk chemicals are unregulated, and safe levels of exposure have not yet been set.
Allergic reactions

Fragrances are considered to be among the top five known allergens and are known to both cause asthma and trigger asthma attacks. Unfortunately, EWG's 2005 detailed survey of approximately one-third of the industry safety panel's ingredient reviews revealed that allergen and sensitizer determinations were made with little scientific rigor and inadequate safety margins.

We recommend you choose products free of fragrance but read ingredient labels carefully. 

The term "fragrance-free" on a product does not necessarily mean a product is actually free of fragrance chemicals.  Instead, a fragrance may be masking a chemical scent to create an illusion of fragrance free

But better yet, use the guide at for fragrance-free products.

                                                  Lottery In A Make-Up Bag
                                                                By Roslyn Beeby

From:The Canberra Times, December 2006

They're the world's most popular Christmas gifts, with global surveys predicting festive season sales of perfumes and cosmetics likely to rise by more than 20 per cent this year.

That's a handsome profit for a global industry worth $255billion.

Australian men now spend $488million on personal grooming products, with women spending more than double that amount on a battery of cosmetics, perfumes, hair care, manicure and tanning products.

But there's a battle being waged over the environmental and health impacts of synthetic chemicals used in beauty products and toiletries.

Scientists, health lobbyists and environmental campaigners argue that the cosmetics industry is among the world's least regulated, using thousands of chemicals that have not been subject to adequate assessment.

In the United States, studies by the Environment Protection Authority have linked endocrine disrupters used in toiletries and household cleaners to hormone disruption in wildlife, possibly caused by water pollution from urban wastewater.

A recent report by global lobby group Health Care Without Harm and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation tested 34 leading-brand cosmetics for phthalates synthetic chemicals linked to decreased fertility and reproductive defects and now one of the most abundant industrial pollutants in the environment.

Laboratory tests confirmed the chemicals were used in 80 per cent of products, with more than 50 per cent containing more than one type of phthalate. According to the report, "none of the products listed phthalates as an ingredient on the label".

When Hollywood actress Jennifer Lopez launched her first perfume, Glow by J.Lo in 2002, with its bling-bedecked pale pink bottle, she claimed she wanted a fragrance "that feels like you just came out of the shower".

It broke all global sales records for perfumes (the Lopez fragrance empire is now worth more than $US500million) and its success was swiftly followed by body lotions and bronzers.

A "younger, hotter little sister" called Miami Glow was launched described as "a blend of pink grapefruit, coconut water, cyclamen and vanilla orchid" which added up to "an irresistible combination for the girl who is extroverted and loves to celebrate."

But a laboratory analysis and consumer safety report by the United States Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep personal product care safety guide is more prosaic.

The Miami Glow "natural spray" has 23 ingredients, nine of which raise health concerns, four are subject to restrictions and warnings regarding their use and 16 have not been risk assessed by the cosmetics industry. Out of a potential score of five, Miami Glow is rated as 4.1 a red-card ranking, indicating a "product of higher concern".

One ingredient (coumarin a chemical compound used in artificial vanilla substitutes) is described as "thought to possibly cause cancer in humans", pose potential gastrointestinal, liver, cardiovascular and blood toxicity hazards and has "potential for reduced fertility or reduced chance for a healthy, full-term pregnancy ."

Another ingredient (Ethylparabenan used to inhibit microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products) is listed as "posing potential breast cancer risks".

Skin Deep's colour-coded scale of assessment (green, amber, red) rates Chihuahua-toting heiress Paris Hilton's perfume at the green end (lowest concern), scoring a consumer safety score of 1.2 and containing no ingredients listed as cancer hazards, irritants or endocrine disrupters.

Calvin Klein has 13 products ranked in the red zone, and even a genteel-appeal brand like Britain's Crabtree and Evelyn scored four red-zoners, including their Gardeners' Hand Therapy, which apparently has 15 ingredients that raise health concerns, according to the Skin Deep test criteria.

Aveda, a company that claims to use only "pure botanicals" in its hair care products, has four red-raters (out of a total of 109 products assessed) with five ingredients in its popular Sap Moss conditioner rated as posing potential breast cancer risks. However, their Rosemary Mint shampoo gets a green rating , with only three out of 15 of its ingredients (camphor, benzoic acid and glycerin) raising minor health concerns over potential allergies.

On its website Skin Deep offers comprehensive assessments of almost 15,000 skin and hair care products, cosmetics, sunscreens and toothpastes, providing safety ratings based on toxicity tests and regulatory databases.

The organisation claims more than one-third of all personal care products contain at least one ingredient linked to cancer; 57 per cent of all products contain "penetration enhancer" chemicals that can drive other ingredients faster and deeper into the skin to the blood vessels below; and 79 per cent of all products contain ingredients that may contain harmful impurities.

According to Pat Thomas, author of "What's In This Stuff", British research into parabens (used as skin sensitisers and preservatives) has identified them as oestrogen mimics.

"In studies of breast tumours, traces of parabens were also found in every single sample, suggesting that this oestrogenic effect is not just an artefact of the lab," writes Thomas.

Last month, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh's Centre for Environmental Oncology claimed use of personal care products containing oestrogen and parabens could explain why young African-American women were at greater risk of developing breast cancer.

In a study published in the journal Medical Hypotheses, they pointed out that products like hair straighteners and deodorants contained oestrogen and parabens and were "widely used in the African-American community throughout life, starting at very young ages".

The United States Geological Survey recently released a study revealing triclosan, a chemical that mimics the thyroid hormone and is commonly added to soaps, toothpaste, deodorant and dog shampoos, is present in 60 percent of the nation's rivers and lakes. It's bioaccumulative, building up in fatty tissue and has been found in human breast milk and fish.

The good news is that hundreds of ethical cosmetics companies throughout the world have signed the global Campaign for Safe Cosmetics's compact for safe health and beauty products, pledging not to use chemicals known or strongly suspected of causing cancer, mutation or birth defects in their products and to develop substitution plans replacing environmentally hazardous materials with safer alternatives.