No warning on that orange

We want to make safe fragrances. But at the same time we’re restricted on some of the materials we use such as, for example, orange oil. If we use a very small amount of that then it must be listed on the labels of the products it’s going into as a possible allergen. Now if you go into a supermarket and buy an orange, when you peel it you get covered in the same oil that we’re being stopped from using. But there’s no warning on that orange saying it contains these same materials.

— Tim Gage of the British Society of Perfumers talks about IFRA regulations and how they affect perfumers. Read more at Death by jasmine: why organic perfumery is under threat at The Ecologist.

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  1. RusticDove says:

    What an excellent point.

    • Robin says:

      Fat lot of good it will do. I like quoting these articles though, makes me feel better!

      • Suzy Q says:

        Me too. Thanks for posting, Robin.

  2. Joe says:

    I don’t blame IFRA (the industry’s own group): I blame an overly litigious society/societies.

    Which is a shame, because I don’t think “torts reform” should prevent people who are truly “injured” due to willful misinformation or negligence on the part of a manufacturer (of whatever product be it food or cosmetic) to have their hands tied when it comes to wanting some justice — I guess it’s a legal question in terms of what is a reasonable/significant injury to make a claim for. Complicated.

  3. poodle says:

    I am so sick of the government and other groups over regulating things and telling me what I can and can’t use, etc. Like right now I’m reading the warning on my water bottle that the cap is a small part and poses a choking hazard, especially for children. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood but if you aren’t bright enough to figure out what is small enough for your kid to choke on then maybe you shouldn’t have a kid. Same goes for the oils used in fragrance, let me know there may be an allergen but then let me decide what I want to do. I hate how things keep getting banned and reformulated because a few people had a problem. I’ve had reactions to things but I learn and I find something else to use. I don’t expect a company to change things because it didnt agree with me. It burns me up how a few people make everyone else suffer.
    And this is so true, there are plenty of things at the grocery store that are allergens and don’t need to be labelled as such. Mangoes are in the same family as poison ivy. If I cut up and eat a fresh mango my hands and lips will get a bumpy, itchy rash. I know that and I avoid fresh mango but I certainly wouldn’t expect the store to stop selling them because of me. Nor do I need them to put a warning label on them. When did people stop taking responsibility for their own actions and need others to constantly warn them and ban things because they are not smart enough to look out for themselves?
    Wow. I’m sorry. I think I’m a bit cranky today.

    • Robin says:

      Hope the day gets better!

    • RusticDove says:

      Don’t apologize Poodle, I enjoyed your comment! ;-)

    • Tama says:

      In Hawai’i, if a house for sale has mango trees growing, it has a have a disclosure. Mango is apparently is big allergen for people. Thank God I can eat them! I kind of break out from fresh pineapples. Oh, I shouldn’t say anything! There goes Ananas Fizz!!!

    • 50_Roses says:

      Don’t apologize, I feel the same way. Are you familiar with the sci-fi story “With Folded Hands”? The gist of it is that a highly advanced race of robots have been created, who follow the Prime Directive: “to serve and obey and guard men from harm”. They will not permit any humans to engage in any activity that might endanger them. Since virtually every activity involves some risk of harm-driving a car could end in an accident, cooking involves heat sources and sharp utensils, climbing stairs could result in a fall–the ultimate result of this is that the humans can only sit with folded hands, as there is nothing else to do. I fear we are coming perilously close to this nightmare, as there are groups out there trying to protect everyone from anything that might possibly be harmful to even one person.

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        Love it! Speaks to my frustrations precisely! There MUST be a balance between personal responsibility and protections at the societal level. Seems like we’re overdue for the pendulum to swing towards personal responsibility again!

    • Emily says:

      I dunno, Poodle, those silica gel packets in shoeboxes look mighty appetizing sometimes. If they didn’t say DO NOT EAT, well, who knows what I’d do.

      (Kidding. Love the comment.)

      • poodle says:

        I’m partial to the warning that the hot cup of coffee may actually be hot and could cause burns.

        • Emily says:

          My husband is in law school now. At one event on campus, LexisNexis was handing out insulated mugs that were designed to look like takeout coffee cups and were printed with the case name of the McDonald’s coffee lawsuit (Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants).

  4. Aleta says:


    Though by all means, let’s put ridiculous warning labels on fragrances if it means we can keep the ingredients!

    • RusticDove says:

      Oh yes indeed Aleta – bring em on!

    • Joe says:

      Seriously, wouldn’t it be nice to buy some rich, mossy thing filled with bergamot and jasmine absolute … even if it had a big ugly label on it that stated, “THIS STUFF COULD KILL YOU” ?

      It would actually probably increase sales.

      • 50_Roses says:

        Why not, they sell drugs that way. Very often, in a drug commercial, you will here something like “severe, sometimes fatal, reactions have occurred”. So–taking this product that is intended to help you may instead result in your death, yet still the product may be sold.

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          I would happily buy a bottle of fragrance, even if it had a big, fold-out leaflet inside the box warning me against it!

  5. Kimberly Elizabeth says:

    So, I’ve just got to play devil’s advocate here and point out that when you buy and peel and orange in the grocery store you know what you’re getting. This is not the same as buying a perfume without knowing the ingredients only to find that you have a reaction to it. I don’t think that they should restrict what perfumers can use in their creations, but I see nothing wrong with listing possible allergens on the label. This way people with known allergies can make informed decisions instead of wasting their money on something that they will be unable to wear. In other words, the orange doesn’t need a label because you already know it’s an orange. You can’t tell if a perfume has orange in it just by looking at it; hence the need for labels. I think we should have fewer restrictions and more labels. I would love to be able to buy a bottle of perfume and know everything that’s in the bottle.

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      Your comment suggest to me why the industry might not be fighting too hard to reduce restrictions–they probably want to protect their secret formulas!

      • capitalist pancake says:

        Right – full ingredient disclosure means it would be easier to create fake juice. Still, I’d rather have a label than increasingly bland perfumes.

  6. capitalist pancake says:

    Always cracks me up when my packet of nuts warns me that it contains nuts.

  7. ladymurasaki says:

    How interesting. I was at a Scratch + Sniff Scented Speakeasy (run by Odette Toilette) last night and we sniffed samples of perfume with banned ingredients (or use ingredients in levels over the legal limit) and there was a perfume called Death by Jasmine by Papillon Perfumery. The amount of jasmine it contains is over the legal limit and because of that, it is not on the market. It was suffocatingly overpowering, but it also reminded me of Jean Patou Joy. Someone aptly called it “Death by Asphyxiation”. We also sniffed a sample of Moroccan musk – the real deal. It was so beautiful; almost vanilla-like. It’s so lovely that it’s hard to imagine that it comes from the nether region of the musk deer.

  8. Owen says:

    you will know (,or your parents will know,) when you are at a young that you will be allergic to orange oil when you eat an orange. so that’s why food doesn’t always have warning labels, because oranges are a common food that just about everyone eats.

    what most people don’t know (,including me, until now,) is that perfumes can have orange oil in.

    so yes perfumes should have warning labels, but then people don’t always read them. and no these such ingredients should not be banned just because of a few people.

    but having warning labels on perfume could cause less people to try the perfumes, and therefore less people to buy them. so the companies will lose sales.

    so they make everything as safe as they can so that everyone can enjoy them. and it’s making our perfume bland and boring, well blander.

    I read the death by jasmine atricle. ofcourse some people are allrergic to jasmine! every material on the planet has atleast some people that are allergic to it. so you can’t pull out every material in every product that causes a reaction, it’s impossible! so why should we sacrifice real jasmine just for a few people who in today’s department stores can find a synthetic that is similar if not the same?!

    and these allergic reactions have occured probably because these people have never touched real jasmine before. a lot us haven’t touched a lot of real flowers, and we might be sensitive to them at first, but then our then our body’s immune system toughens up to them and tolerates them.

    and furthermore, like mentioned in the article, synthetic perfumes even have a possibilty of causing an allergic reaction.

  9. bluegardenia says:

    i feel it’s okay if everything is banned. then everyone will wear boring bland cheap perfume and those of us in the know will simply find ways to get what we need and always smell better than everyone else!

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