Allergic reactions

Six of the 39 chemicals are on the EU list of 26 perfume ingredients which cause allergic reactions and have to be listed on labels. This list can be seen, for example, at

A scientific study in 1995 found that more than one in five asthmatics developed chest tightness and wheezing on inhaling perfumes, and symptoms became worse in 36% of those with severe asthma (Kumar et al., 1995).

Perfumes are also one of the commonest causes - possibly the commonest cause – of allergic contact dermatitis, which can occur through exposure to chemicals in the air; it does not require the chemical to be put directly on the skin. Research on eczema sufferers found reactions to perfume to be even commoner than reactions to the preservative formaldehyde (SCCNFP, 1999).

An estimated 1-2% of people in Europe have contact allergy to perfume ingredients (Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, 2000). This translates to between 600,000 and over a million people in the UK.

A 2002 study found that people who used perfumed products in their work suffered relatively high levels of associated skin problems (Dickel et al., 2002).

As if bad skin weren’t enough...anyone for obesity?