It is absurd

If we ban citral from perfumes, of which certain elements are allergens, we should ban orange juice. It is absurd. We should not ban nature, only learn how to live with it.

Frederic Malle, talking about new EU regulations concerning allergens in perfume. The regulations, expected to be adopted at the end of this year, will ban oakmoss, tree moss and HICC, an aromachemical used to make lily of the valley fragrances. Nine other aromachemicals, including citral, eugenol and coumarin, are under consideration for restrictions on the level of use. Read more at Perfume industry braces for tough new EU rules at Reuters.

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13 Comments

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  1. jonr951 says:

    “We should not ban nature, only learn how to live with it.” Well said! Perfect actually.

    • Robin says:

      I am completely against all these regulations…wish they’d stick with better warning labels. But have to admit his argument doesn’t work -> you could in fact be perfectly able to drink orange juice, but still have a contact allergy to high concentrations of citral. Still, he’s right that an obvious workaround is to avoid citral if you’re allergic to it.

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        I read a comment somewhere that said that the concern with allergies was only coming in physical contact with the allergen–that they couldn’t create an allergic response with smell alone. Any chance you can confirm that? It makes sense to me, and makes the if-you-have-concerns-don’t-wear-it argument seem all the more reasonable, but I’m too much of a professional skeptic to believe just because I read it somewhere once!

        • Robin says:

          Yes, my understanding is that the concern is with contact allergies — reactions on the skin, not with aromachemicals that might cause the kinds of reactions that lead to no-perfume policies in the workplace.

  2. Dilana says:

    I am currently using an orange based indoor pesiticide from the Natural food store which I believe is based on citral. It is pretty effective in keeping tiny creatures away from the actual surfaces sprayed, and killing those in the path of those fumes. And I totally get that orange peels are by nature toxic to insects (That toxicity performs the primary function of protecting the seeds and juice of the orange from insects).
    But we humans are a lot larger and have a lot more complicated defense systems than fruit flies and summer ants. Orange peels have been used by humans for thousands of years to scent precious oils, flavor foods and preserve foods.

    On a related topic, it seems that those precious micro beads in exfoliants and other make up is toxic to the environment. They ending up floating in lakes and possibly oceans where they are mistaken for fish eggs and eaten by large fish. L’Oreal and Johnson and Johnson and some other big cosmetic companies have agreed to remove them from their products within a few years and several jurisdictions are hoping to ban them by next year.
    So, if you like a grainy scrub, and if you want the Great Lakes to be Great, switch to an apricot seed based exfoliant.

    • Robin says:

      Yes, read that about micro-beads this week…hope they will ban them.

    • platinum14 says:

      Ah yes… apricot seed. But then you have all those people who are allergic to tree nuts… and apricot seed is in the almond family.

  3. platinum14 says:

    Yes, it is absurd!
    If citral oils are so bad, shouldn’t peeling an oranges, a clementine, a grapefruit in public also be banned? Those oils are very volatile… heck they might even touch someone!
    When someone is diagnosed with an allergy, shouldn’t the doctor follow up with tests to determine the exact ingredient causing the allergy? And shouldn’t only those ingredients be banned or controlled? In my book, to say that someone is allergic to perfume makes about as much sense as saying that someone is allergic to food.
    Since its creation the IFRA has banned/controlled many “bad” ingredients and replaced them with “good” chemicals and yet, allergies to fragrances are becoming more and more common.
    (…and yes, I’m still sore about fragrances being banned from my work place)

    • Robin says:

      The concern is with contact allergies, so it doesn’t have much to do with whether you peel the orange in public or in your own home. And you can develop allergies from prolonged exposure — citrus workers & bartenders are known to develop dermatitis, for example. It’s a totally different issue than the sorts of chemical sensitivity / exposure or “allergic to perfume” issues that lead to workplace bans — so far as I know, none of the regulatory agencies (IFRA, etc) are doing anything at all about that issue.

      I do think this is all terribly wrong-headed, mind you, it’s just that you’re talking about a different problem.

      • platinum14 says:

        Robin, if the issue is only with contact allergies, wouldn’t labelling be the correct answer.
        I am allergic to latex. If the label indicates that a product contains latex, I don’t buy it. I know that i’m not alone, and yet latex is not being banned.

        I’m very sorry if my comment sounded to cranky or off topic, but I’m really having a hard time understanding their logic.

        • Robin says:

          Yes, you would think it would be enough! But apparently it is not enough for the EU regulators. And feel free to be cranky about it — I’m cranky too.

  4. Omega says:

    Regulations make me cranky. Soon, we will just be able to wear only bottled water…with a little sugar dissolved in it. No thanks.

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