Scent formulas are often protected as trade secrets. That means you'll often see the generic term "fragrance" or "perfume" on a label without information about the actual chemicals used and the amounts. Of course, this makes it difficult for consumers to avoid products containing ingredients that may cause allergic reactions.
The European Union (EU) designated 26 fragrance allergens (16 occurring in natural complex substances such as essential oils) as requiring labeling on cosmetic and detergent products. This labeling must occur if the concentration of the designated ingredient exceeds 100 parts per million (ppm), or 0.01% for a rinse-off product, and 10 ppm, or 0.001% for a leave-on product. To help our consumers with sensitive skin, allergies, or asthma, Seventh Generation has decided to voluntarily list any of the 16 fragrance allergens found in essential oils that are present in its cleaners, using their International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) names. When a fragrance allergen is present in a Seventh Generation cleaner it is because that allergen occurs in nature, as a component of the essential oils we use to fragrance our cleaners.
It is difficult to fully comprehend the criteria used for the inclusion of these chemicals. Not everyone agrees with the selection of the 26 allergens. Nonetheless, such labeling is a start and if consumers know what chemicals they are allergic to then they can avoid or cautiously use the suspect products. Table 1 lists all the 26 allergens designated by the EU.
Once it is known with certainty just what chemicals are used frequently in fragrances and whether or not they are common allergens, selective and rational labeling will make even more sense.
|Table 1: List of 26 fragrance allergens designated by the EU|
|Amyl cinnamal CAS 122-40-7)|
|Benzyl alcohol (CAS No 100-51-6)|
|Cinnamyl alcohol (CAS No 104-54-1)|
|Citral (CAS No 5392-40-5)|
|Eugenol (CAS No 97-53-0)|
|Hydroxy-citronellal (CAS No 107-75-5)|
|Isoeugenol (CAS No 97-54-1)|
|Amylcin-namyl alcohol (CAS No 101-85-9)|
|Benzyl salicylate (CAS No 118-58-1)|
|Cinnamal (CAS No 104-55-2)|
|Coumarin (CAS No 91-64-5)|
|Geraniol (CAS No 106-24-1)|
|Hydroxy-methylpentylcyclohexenecarboxaldehyd (CAS No 31906-04-4)|
|Anisyl alcohol (CAS No 105-13-5)|
|Benzyl cinnamate (CAS No 103-41-3)|
|Farnesol (CAS No 4602-84-0)|
|2-(4-tert-Butylbenzyl) propionald-hyd (CAS No 80-54-6)|
|Linalool (CAS No 78-70-6)|
|Benzyl benzoate (CAS No 120-51-4)|
|Citronellol (CAS No 106-22-9)|
|Hexyl cinnam-aldehyd (CAS No 101-86-0)|
|d-Limonene (CAS No 5989-27-5)|
|Methyl heptin carbonate (CAS No 111-12-6)|
(CAS No 127-51-5)
|Oak moss and treemoss extract (CAS No 90028-68-55)|
|Treemoss extract (CAS No 90028-67-4)|
At what concentration are they present in our products?
Each of our scented cleaners contains a different level of essential oils and botanical extracts. We only list fragrance allergens designated by the European Union on the product packaging if the concentration of these components in the final formulation is equal to or greater than 0.01% (100 ppm). This is the level at which the European Union requires cosmetic manufacturers to list fragrance allergens in rinse-off cosmetics such as shampoos.
 European Union cosmetics directive 76/768/EEC-7th amendment (Council Directive 2003/15/EC). Official Journal of the European Union. Brussels, Belgium. 2003.
 Basketter DA, McFadden J. Current perspectives on fragrance allergy J Environ Dermatol 2005;12:178-83.