Rose Perfume

That rose scent may be concocted from any number of the fragrance industry’s 3,100 stock chemical ingredients.

Modern fragrances are chemical concoctions. For perfumes to be affordable, real flower essences are replaced with synthetic fragrances which are loaded with chemicals, many of which are toxic to health.

The chemical components in fragrance can be lumped together and labelled only as “parfum” or “fragrance”. “Those terms are a catch-all for 10,000 different ingredients,” says Dr Heather Patisaul, a biologist at North Carolina State University who studies environmental exposures on humans.

Perfume manufacturers are allowed to use over 400 ingredients as “fragrance” to protect their trade formulas.

95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. Fragrance can thus trigger asthma, allergies, migraine headaches, and chemical sensitivities. “Anything that gives perfume an odour is very likely going to be an allergen,” says Patisaul.

We actually also smell solvents, stabilisers, UV-absorbers, preservatives and dyes in perfumes. These additives are frequently, but not always, labelled on the product.

For more info on fragrances, read the CAP Guide, “Perfume is Poison”. Available here: