A couple of weeks ago Women’s Voice for the Earth (WVE), released a spoof commercial making fun of SC Johnson’s supposed commitment to transparency and honesty. SC Johnson says they’re committed to transparency yet, they refuse to disclose the fragrance ingredients in their products. (WVE is a national organization that works to eliminate toxic chemicals that harm women’s health by changing consumer behaviors, corporate practices and government policies)
Fragrances tend to be in the forefront of controversy since over 4000 chemicals can be labeled as “fragrance” on a product label. There are loopholes in the laws that don’t require manufacturers to disclose chemicals used to formulate fragrances nor are they required by law to disclose allergens. That’s because fragrance is considered a trade secret, so companies don’t have to disclose what’s in it.
Some hidden hazards found in fragrances, according to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, are:
- Allergens and sensitizers: Fragrances are considered to be among the top five known allergens and are known to both cause and trigger asthma attacks. Product tests conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in 2010 revealed an average of 10 sensitizers in each fragrance tested.
- Phthalates: These chemicals have been linked to hormone disruption, which can affect development and fertility.
- Neurotoxins: Fragrance ingredients were identified by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences as one of six categories of neurotoxins which are chemicals toxic to the brain.
What can you do today to protect yourself from toxic fragrances?
- Opt for fragrance-free products. If you like fragrance, which most of us do, choose a product that is fragranced with essential oils.
- Read the WVE blog on SC Johnson’s response to the spoof commercial and the 52,000 signatures of consumers demanding to know what chemicals they are using in their products.
- You can sign the petition to SC Johnson and have your voice heard. At the end of the day, it is all about knowing the truth and making informed decisions.
- Watch and share the spook video below with everyone you know. The more people are made aware of what’s lurking in their products the more impact we will have to get manufactures to disclose toxins and allergens in their products. SC Johnson is not the only company that keeps toxic ingredients a secret. According to the WVE, “SCJ is going one step further than their mainstream competitors Clorox, Procter & Gamble, and Reckitt Benckiser by beginning to list ingredients (except for fragrance, of course) on product labels.” But they are still no poster child.
- Vote with your wallet and buy products from companies that are dedicated to using only the finest natural ingredients and doing what’s right by their consumers.
You have a right to know what it’s the products you use. Make your voice heard and educate yourself on what to look for and what to avoid. A good starting point is the Environment Working Group Skin Deep Database and an article I wrote about what toxic ingredients are in your personal care products.