synthetic perfume – why we avoid it

25 February 2017

Have you ever wondered why baby products and many eco options, from skincare to dishwashing detergent, market themselves as "fragrance free"?

We often speak of our love of natural fragrance and the positive effect it can have on our lives. But Abel wouldn’t exist if we weren’t determined to create a synthetic-free perfume option for ourselves and our customers. Synthetic fragrance compounds have been widely linked to a whole host of negative side effects. More and more we are being asked about this, so we thought it was about time we share a little about why we find synthetic fragrance compounds (present in 99% of perfumes) so distasteful.

Not all synthetic fragrance compounds are created equal, but the worst offenders can be roughly grouped into one of two categories:

Sensitising chemicals” that can trigger allergic reactions – eyes, skin and respiratory.

Hormone-disrupting chemicals” linked to breast and prostate cancer, thyroid problems and toxic to the reproductive cycle.

It’s easy to think the problem stops with the person choosing to wear synthetic perfume, but that’s not the case. The impact spreads to co-workers, children (especially the unborn foetus) and all the way down the food chain where these compounds bioaccumulate.

We are all for freedom of choice, but with absolutely no transparency in product labelling, we don’t believe the customer is being given the freedom to choose. There is no legal requirement for fragrance ingredients to be listed as anything other than “parfum” on a product label. Which means the “parfum” listed on the ingredients list could be anything from a dozen natural ingredients (like ours!) to hundreds of synthetic compounds, many of which are proven hormone disrupters or sensitisers.

In an information economy, this astounds us. 

There is no legal requirement for fragrance ingredients to be listed as anything other than “parfum”.

If you’re curious for more information, we recommend two great resources from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics group;

An easy to digest video: Story of Stuff.

A detailed report produced with the Environmental Working Group: Not So Sexy.

Now we’ll climb back down off our “soapbox”

…‘Til next time.