EU to force change of formula for perfume classics

05th November, 2012

Reuters is reporting that hundreds of classic fragrances, including Chanel No. 5, will have to be reformulated if EU proposals to restrict ingredients such as citral (from citrus fruits), coumarin (from tonka beans), eugenol (from rose oil) - to 0.01 percent of the finished product; and completely ban tree and oak moss.

The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS), who are advising the EU, say that 1-3% of people "are allergic or potentially allergic to perfume". The industry isn't taking it lying down. Reuters say that "Trade associations including IFRA and Cosmetics Europe, whose members are perfume and cosmetics companies such as LVMH, are aiming to submit a joint industry proposal to the Commission by the end of 2012."

According to an article Perfume & Flavorist, IFRA suggested "using technologies such as smart labeling, telephone hotlines and websites to help consumers obtain detailed, accurate and beneficial information on fragrance materials, which would allow consumers to evaluate a product in relation to potential skin allergens and their own requirements"

Which makes a lot more sense in our view.

Further reading

  • Share this article

Categories

Advertisement — comments are below

Comments

    • Ozjon701 | 5th November 2012 11:11

      Hey Brussels! 70% of people have a degree of lactose intolerance so why not ban cows too!?

    • illyria | 5th November 2012 13:52

      I agree! Whatever happened to the concept of personal responsibility?

      Since it appears these perfume allergies are triggered by application, not by smelling it on someone else, surely it's enough to provide warnings on the product and let people make an informed choice whether to wear it or not. Mitts off my Mitsouko! :-)

    • rttoronto | 5th November 2012 20:07

      Let the hoarding begin :((

      God I'm so sick of these changes...I'll definately hoard some No.5 if this is the case, even though I really don't want to.

    • MonkeyBars | 6th November 2012 00:20

      I'd like to see some hard figures on the effects of these allergens on people that come into contact with other people wearing perfumes. How many hospital visits? How many attacks? Deaths? Until there is scientific data behind this, it's just bureaucrats picking on another luxury industry so they can seem like saviors.

    • RHM | 6th November 2012 04:19

      So 1 to 3% of the population is enough to destroy fragrance, as we know it?

      I want to know what percentage of the population is addicted to alcohol? If it's over 3%, is the government going to outlaw the production of spirits?

      Gee, you can go down the list of things.....how about gasoline? Isn't it a carcinogen? So why not ban gasoline?

      The whole thing smacks of BIG BROTHER!!!

    • ktime70 | 6th November 2012 07:30

      Ummm you guys realise when they say "allergen" they are only referring to skin contact allergies. that is, an adverse reaction from spraying the perfume on yourself. this doesn't even have anything to do with making OTHER PEOPLE sneeze or what have you. when it effects someone else, it's considered an "irritant" not an allergen. so they are banning perfumes because 3% of the population cannot spray them on themselves... it's even WORSE than it reads.

    • hirch_duckfinder | 6th November 2012 07:39

      It's not big brother. It's corrupt, unaccountable capitalism. The political power is bought through money and the power comes with a license to print money.

      The people who make the decisions stand to profit from them and those who expose them are ridiculed.

      The regulatory bodies are funded by the big companies who manufacture the replacements for the banned substances.

      One day we will shove their captive molecules up their ars** while giving away free oakmoss!

    • David Ruskin | 6th November 2012 09:50

      I think it is already too late to save the classics due to IFRA's regulations, but the EU proposed regulations spell the end of Perfumery as we know it. No more Chypres, no more Fougeres. Will we see skull and crossbones signs in our greengrocers? Lemons have Citral in their skin. Will we see the same in florists shops? For such a small minority (alleged) to cause such a destructive change to our history and heritage, is madness when it could be avoided.

    • Profumo Saggio | 6th November 2012 10:54

      I am one of those 1-3% whose skin is irritated by certain fragrance ingredients. I use dye and fragrance free laundry and toiletries. That being said, I also own over 100 fragrances, only a very few of which have ever caused any problems. I know which ones they are and fortunately they are ones I really don't like to wear much anyway. I have always figured my body was just sorting out stuff I shouldn't wear. On a serious note, this is another reason I try to test fragrances before I buy. I have never once entertained the idea of ttrying to tell a fragrance house, let alone an entire industry they have to change their entire way of doing things. I can't think of anywhere else in a so called free market, that 3% of a population would dictate 100% of the market.

    • Francolino | 6th November 2012 12:17

      Alcohol and cigarettes kill thousands of people, why not a ban?

    • redrose | 6th November 2012 14:28

      Like Profumo Saggio, above, I suffer from irritant contact dermatitis from a few frags. Those that have caused problems, I just spray on fabrics, not my skin. Most frags are fine, though, and I can see no reason for this additional, useless legislation at all. After all, problems with nut allergies have been reported for years, but nobody's suggesting banning them, nor should they.

      And yes, I'm hoarding already. I can't imagine a world without N'Aimez Que Moi, Parfum Sacre, Ta'if, Paris, Samsara, etc., etc. Altered as so many already are, I don't see they how they could survive further doctoring, so I keep several backups for each now.

    • DirtyPony | 6th November 2012 15:18

      This breaks my heart. I've dreamed of being able to one day affored Shalimar and no 19 and Hiris. By the time im old enough to affored them they probably wont exist. At least not as we know them ):

    • Mysticman | 6th November 2012 18:52

      Good grief! How is it that peanuts and shellfish are still available? There are people who have fatal allergies to those substances; yet they are harmless to most others, and somehow the human race still functions.

      I say we round up those busybodies who are advocating this outrage and dump them into a vat of pure oakmoss extract until they see reason!

    • mnaonbn | 7th November 2012 07:43

      One of the best things that might come from this incessant and arbitrary infringement on artistic expression is that more and more of us perfume connoisseurs will become amateur artisan perfumers ourselves——further educating ourselves about perfumery and creating (not just appreciating) perfumes for ourselves and our loved ones. The more that structural forces like these work to disempower us by leaving us at their whim and mercy, the more that we can work to empower ourselves by becoming more learned and self reliant. (Now, please excuse me while I go bathe in a bucket of gently warmed oakmoss absolute!)

    • david | 7th November 2012 19:11

      Nanny state europe.

      - - - Updated - - -

      NANNY STATE EUROPE.

    • Surfacing | 8th November 2012 02:35

      Sounds awful, but I think this is happening for business interests. There is no way it would be put into place if it take money out of the industry.

      Is there a good way to have sythetic coumarin, oakmoss and citral ? It seems like almost every fragrance I have has these indgredients. I just don't even see how it is possible. All the modern mainstream designers use coumarin.

    • LaNose | 8th November 2012 15:21

      Oh, for Christ's sake! Somebody allergic to something. Let's start with air pollution and cigarette smoke; nobody's outlawing them. If folks are allergic to oak moss, tonka, etc., please turn away.

    • Ms Rochambeau | 8th November 2012 16:13

      You hit the nail right on the head!

      - - - Updated - - -

      So what happens when they find that an even greater percent of the population is allergic to the some replacement chemicals they're really trying to push? I'll bet you won't hear a peep out of the regulators, as they will work really hard to keep it from the public. How much more greedy and corrupt can they get?

      - - - Updated - - -

      Thank you for sharing that and proving that these extreme restrictions are out of control.

    • darrylhunter | 8th November 2012 18:49

      I actually see this as an opportunity to drive creativity. Yes, I agree, we may lose a 'love', but as with any love lost we have the chance to find new ones.

    • Letitbenose | 8th November 2012 20:12

      Those bureaucrats are hypocrits... or dumb... or both!

    • Nukapai | 9th November 2012 11:33

      Well, in this instance, IFRA could rescue these perfumes. We must remember that the EU responds to lobbyists, NGOs, green organisations, consumer organisations and so on. There could also be some concern about legal cases brought on by consumers who have developed allergies.

      In my opinion it's over-protective. But the EU views cosmetics and perfumes as unnecessary risk (so whilst food is essential, cosmetics are easy to eliminate from the list of potential risks one encounters). Try telling a perfume lover this, I know, I know, but if you put your logical hat on you can sort of see where they're coming from. I don't think it would be right to take it to a ban or such severe restrictions. If they must do something, then add warning labels.

      It's funny about alcohol and tobacco, really. I guess the tax revenues generated are still higher than the medical costs. It's difficult to do anything about such a long-established system to do with highly addictive substances. If only the EU realised how addictive oakmoss was :)

      I sincerely hope that IFRA can protect the industry. Despite all that we, as perfume fans might perceive to be wrong with IFRA, they are actually lesser of two evils and have managed to protect perfumes from over-zealous regulators for decades.

      The big difference here is that if this passes, it wil become law and compulsory. IFRA is still a membership-only organisation (though complying with its recommendations is increasingly demanded by various bodies anyway, so it's close to being mandatory for perfume and cosmetics businesses).

    • slesperado | 10th November 2012 09:31

      Hey, Illyria. There are actually some people who are allergic to the smell of certain perfume ingredients as well, but I still don't think it's enough to justify a ban on ingredients. The world has more important and significant things to worry about than stuff like this.

    • mumsy | 10th November 2012 14:04

      I'm allergic to bureaucracy... It is bureaucrazy! Does anyone know know you start online petitions?

    • Ursula | 12th November 2012 01:43

      Let the hoarding begin. Because this is the only thing we CAN do. Let's inform each other when certain fragrances are beginning to disappear, and disappear they will.

      Oh ... sigh ... oh ... sigh - you get my point.

    • treeman5823 | 12th November 2012 03:44

      Modern coumarin is synthetic.

      I don't think fragrances will start disappearing. I think they will just be perverted beyond recognition--a far worse fate, if you ask me.

      - - - Updated - - -

      But really, friends. This looks like the worst regulation push in a while. How are perfumers supposed to get by without coumarin? Coumarin! And oak and tree moss? Banning these will eradicate chypres altogether (unless everyone starts making their own 31 Rue Cambons).

      - - - Updated - - -

    • iivanita | 12th November 2012 10:30

      democracy is when 3% of people determine the rules to 97% of people,

      or i mixed this up with capitalism and distrubution of wealth?

    • bargepole | 12th November 2012 14:55

      From Perfume Flavorist:

      [QUOTE]In response to the recent adoption of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety Opinion on Fragrance Allergens, The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) is proposing a multi-stakeholder process—which includes the input of scientists, regulators and civic groups—in order to address issues surrounding fragrance allergens in cosmetic products.

      Following the adoption of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety Opinion on Fragrance Allergens published July 31, IFRA is proposing a cooperative approach which includes a series of multi-stakeholder workshops and conferences. The first conference slated for December 2012 in Brussels will focus on bringing various areas of expertise together to reach an agreed upon definition of what constitutes a fragrance skin allergen.[/QUOTE]

      The key phrase is "scientists, regulators and civic groups".

      Having been lectured by a dermatologist in today's Independent on how the proposed bans will NOT affect fine fragrance -- and obviously a dermatologist is automatically qualified to talk about this, being A DOCTOR -- it seems to me that the best way ahead is to form a "civic group" of perfume aficionados.

      Basenotes would, I'd have thought, be a good place to start. Consumers. International consumers. Informed international consumers. With a well-known public voice.

      I never thought I'd live to suggest starting a committee. But here I go: Basenotes should form a committee of articulate, informed consumers and connoisseurs to oppose any more absurd regulation of the fragrance industry. It should then register its interest with IFRA.

      It's fun to yell from the sidelines. But it might be more fruitful to take part in the match. Just a thought.

    • Birdboy48 | 14th November 2012 10:12

      My sense has always been that the whole IFRA push was intended to be a pre-emptive move : they were shaking in their boots that somwhere along the line ellements of the public would decide that perfume was just one more toxic thing in this world. So what do they do ? Hire a bunch of scientists to tell the public that perfume *IS* toxic, and has been so all along. Real smart PR move, eh ?

      But don't worry, us bureaucrats are going to make this toxic mix....well....somewhat less dangerous. "Safe" almost.

      If I *was* one of those people who are paranoid about everything around me being toxic, moves like this would only serve to confirm my fears.

      s

    • Nukapai | 24th November 2012 13:12

      You are confusing IFRA (and industry body) with the EU (European regulations and law).

      It is the former that has tried pre-emptively all these years to protect perfumes from being over-regulated to death (despite what it looks like to us perfumistas) and it is the latter that is now recommeding the total ban or severe restriction of several vital perfume materials anyway.

      Yes, there is definitely a money-making side with the former: being able to sell alternatives to materials that the organisation itself is restricting to its members is clearly a very nice deal, considering IFRA is run and financed by all the major fragrance material manufacturers in the world.

      But the pre-emptive function was a real one and it would be a real shame if it had now finally failed.

      The line EU tends to take with all cosmetics and perfumes is that they're an unnecessary risk, however small, so their knee-jerk reaction is always to go "well, might as well say that ingredient X should be avoided entirely even if we don't have a substantial amount (or any) evidence that it's really doing much harm."

      Having read through the whole report this news item is based on, I can see that there is definitely some solid science and research behind the recommendations they make (yes, people really have reacted and become irritated by the materials in question, some more than others), but personally I don't agree with the "throwing baby out with the bathwater" approach at all. Their recommendations, IMO, are wrong and we should be looking for greater ingredient transparency, better labelling and some healthy common sense. We can't possibly go around banning everything that 1-3% of people might be sensitive to. The only reason they're recommending such a dramatic move in this case is that it's perfume, which is considered unnecessary.

      - - - Updated - - -

      You are confusing IFRA (an industry body) with the EU (European regulations and law).

      It is the former that has tried pre-emptively all these years to protect perfumes from being over-regulated to death (despite what it looks like to us perfumistas) and it is the latter that is now recommeding the total ban or severe restriction of several vital perfume materials anyway.

      Yes, there is definitely a money-making side with the former: being able to sell alternatives to materials that the organisation itself is restricting to its members is clearly a very nice deal, considering IFRA is run and financed by all the major fragrance material manufacturers in the world.

      But the pre-emptive function was a real one and it would be a real shame if it had now finally failed.

      The line EU tends to take with all cosmetics and perfumes is that they're an unnecessary risk, however small, so their knee-jerk reaction is always to go "well, might as well say that ingredient X should be avoided entirely even if we don't have a substantial amount (or any) evidence that it's really doing much harm."

      Having read through the whole report this news item is based on, I can see that there is definitely some solid science and research behind the recommendations they make (yes, people really have reacted and become irritated by the materials in question, some more than others), but personally I don't agree with the "throwing baby out with the bathwater" approach at all. Their recommendations, IMO, are wrong and we should be looking for greater ingredient transparency, better labelling and some healthy common sense. We can't possibly go around banning everything that 1-3% of people might be sensitive to. The only reason they're recommending such a dramatic move in this case is that it's perfume, which is considered unnecessary.