What do Britney Spears' Curious, Hannah Montana Secret Celebrity, Calvin Klein Eternity, and Abercrombie & Fitch Fierce all have in common?
At least a dozen secret chemicals not listed on the label, according to a new laboratory analysis by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Campaign partner Environmental Working Group assessed data (collected by an independent laboratory) on 17 best-selling fragrances and found they contained an average of fourteen chemicals not listed on their ingredient labels because a loophole in federal law allows companies to claim fragrances as trade secrets. 66 percent of these "secret ingredients" have never been evaluated for safety, meaning we have no way of knowing what they'll do to our health.
What we do know: The perfumes contained an average of ten unlisted chemicals each that are associated with allergic reactions like asthma, wheezing, headache and contact dermatitis, and an average of four chemicals known to be endocrine disruptors, which impair normal hormone development and have been linked to a range of health issues including sperm damage, thyroid disruption and cancer. Bear in mind that we're lacking good studies that show definitive links between perfume use and rates of cancer or other serious health problems, but the President's Cancer Panel just issued a 200-page report saying the link between toxins in consumer goods and cancer has been "grossly underestimated."
"Something doesn't smell right--clearly the system is broken," says Lisa Archer, national coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at the Breast Cancer Fund. "We urgently need updated laws that require full disclosure of cosmetic ingredients so consumers can make informed choices about what they are being exposed to."
Here's the full list of products tested and the number of secret chemicals found:
- Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue = 7
- Clinique Happy Perfume Spray = 9
- AXE Body Spray For Men - Shock = 10
- Jennifer Lopez J. Lo Glow = 11
- Abercrombie & Fitch Fierce (for men) = 11
- Victoria's Secret Dream Angels Wish = 13
- Hannah Montana Secret Celebrity = 13
- Halle by Halle Berry = 13
- Calvin Klein Eternity (for women) = 14
- Bath & Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom = 14
- Calvin Klein Eternity for Men = 15
- Quicksilver (for men) = 16
- Old Spice After Hours Body Spray (for men) = 16
- Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio (for men) = 17
- Britney Spears Curious = 17
- Chanel Coco = 18
- American Eagle Seventy Seven = 24
Freaked much? Consider going cold turkey on perfume, or switching to all-natural essential oils for sweet, secret-free scent.