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  1. #31

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    I'm afraid I don't. When you imply that the truth is objectionable, because it differs from what you would like to believe, I get worried.

  2. #32

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    Which absolute truth are you referring to? This would be the only case for "worry" - as otherwise it would just constitute a difference in opinion. He simply refers to the selective use of facts - not absolute truth.

    Obviously it is a loaded subject for many - and I applaud the author for her commitment to the issue - I also see no problem with his remarks.

  3. #33

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    Nor do I. All I was commenting on was that the list of "favourites" (i,e those things he objected to) were all true. I don't think I ever mentioned "absolute truth", what ever that means

    "I believe I provided sufficient commentary on why these quotes are objectionable. Perhaps you don't see it the same way." No I don't. That's all.

  4. #34

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    "When you imply that the truth is objectionable, because it differs from what you would like to believe, I get worried". --> implies something you can't argue with, and I don't see any issues with objecting to the way in which facts ("the truth") are presented.

    Its not because XYZ are true, that X-Y-Z are connected and that X-->Y-->Z form a sufficient argument/have some sort of causal relationship.

    Anyway - like I said - its an incredibly difficult topic and a commendable effort.

  5. #35
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    Yes, it is a difficult subject to debate because of an inherent lack of facts to pull the whole picture together.

    * Contention #1: IFRA/EU rules are needed as-is, because they are protecting us from possible dangers in the repeated use of certain aromachemicals. While people may say "but it hasn't harmed me yet" is akin to a smoker saying "they haven't killed me yet"... and we all know how long term smoking will in MOST cases result in either an undesirable chronic condition, amputation of a body part/organ, or premature death. If repeated use of a certain aromachemical triggers an allergic reaction at some point that remains chronic, then there's a potential lawsuit at hand. These restrictions are meant to protect the public health and businesses from potential lawsuits, nothing else.

    * Contention #2: IFRA/EU rules are too restrictive, and are ruining the fragrance industry. They are putting in restrictions on natural essential oils that have been with us for decades, where only an extremely small number of people have cited allergic reactions. It is such a small percentage as to be considered irrelevant, as those who have had problems are mostly people who are already sensitive to a myriad of other allergens and would normally, as a point of common sense, exercise restraint on application of anything (including fragrances). The IFRA board is heavily populated by representatives of corporations in the perfume industry, who coincidentally have a significant edge over smaller competitors in the arena of synthetic formulations. Yes, it is an expensive proposition to come up with a synthetic substitute to a natural essential oil, but once done it is a "cash cow", and can be reused over and over again. Then, such a maker can license out this product and continue to make money on it. What telegraphs complicit behavior is how these large perfume corporations react either indifferently to the new restrictions, or even applaud them. Curious, how the smaller perfumers with little stake in the making of synthetic aromachemicals are the ones who are expressing dissatisfaction with these new restrictions.

    I haven't seen a good argument that addresses both of these, arriving at a definitive conclusion as to which one is "closer to the truth."
    Currently wearing: Accord Oud by Byredo

  6. #36
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    The irony is that EU still allows tobacco/ cigarettes to be sold. No regulation, apart from age concent and a warning that it can kill. Plus the fact that tobacco is addictive !... but european government regulators turn a blind eye to this one because it earns them "too much money" in taxes.

    This "nanny state"/ "united states of europe" stinks.

    Just put a simple health warning on the side of perfume packaging, perhaps an age concent, (if you must)....and let consumers decide for themselves. Like you do with tobacco.

    ...which, (by the way) is much, much more harmful.
    <div class="bnsotd"><b>Currently wearing:</b> <a href="ID26120772.html"><img src="http://www.basenotes.net/photos/products/33/26120772-4846.jpg"> Héritage Eau de Toilette by Guerlain</a></div>

  7. #37
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    I agree wholeheartedly. There hasn't been, as far as I know, a precedence set for a health warning on the side of a perfume box. Do the perfume makers have some extreme sensitivity to doing this, fearing it will tarnish the marketing appeal and scare away potential sales? That it may incorrectly infer that people need to be concerned about perfume contents, thus driving away those who irrationally assume it's just not worth taking the risk any more? Cigarettes have the warnings, but people would still smoke them, because the nicotine addiction would override the possible fear of risk. It wasn't until banning took place to make it significantly inconvenient to smoke, PLUS the financial burden of high taxation to make it financially painful to many, before we started to see a societal downward shift in the number of people who regularly smoke. The only addiction possible with perfume is psychological... the habitual need to apply, or believing one can't smell fine without it. I don't think there are any ingredients which cause a physiological dependency... thus, perfumes don't have the addictive edge that cigarettes have,
    Currently wearing: Accord Oud by Byredo

  8. #38

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    I can see the regulations coming.. no spraying perfume in restaurants and bars.... WOOPS.

  9. #39

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    Thank you for your work on this Ms. Long.

    I appreciate recieving reliable information and education on this extremely complex subject.

  10. #40
    Maggie Mahboubian
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    Thank you for going out on a limb to frame this complex issue. There's a dearth of objective information on the subject and I appreciate your willingness to share!

    The fact of the matter is we're heading towards greater regulation in cosmetics. The question is, who's taking the lead? So far it's big business because they have the means to lobby for solutions that better suit their needs (i.e. restricting or banning ingredients instead of requiring the labeling of POTENTIALLY irritating constituents). But what about everyone else (artisan makers, connoisseurs, etc)? Where do we fit in? Are we going to sit idly by while Rome burns and lash out at each other (like Pia)? We need to demand information and clarification. We need transparency. So far, IFRA has been somewhat opaque like the industry it represents. We have the right to learn about the science and methods of obtaining results. Why doesn't IFRA have an informational website where one could learn about lavender, for example and its potential for sensitization, how that could happen, the reasons for restricting it's use and alternatives that are recommended. Without any objective information on the subject I find myself becoming inherently suspicious when the alternative to naturals "happen" to be a synthetically derived components, but still, I'd like to see the science. That kind of outreach would be a starting point.

    As an artisan maker and advocate (I founded FRAGments to raise awareness for artisan perfumery), I'd like to educate myself on the subject in an objective way. I want to learn all I can about the materials I use, how to handle them safely and ensure they will be safe for others to enjoy. But I also want to create art and have freedom to explore the medium.

    Is it too much to ask?

  11. #41

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    My objections were clearly stated. You are welcome to disagree, however these statements only marginally can be called "the truth", and only if you are willing to overlook the included spin and the context in which the information is presented. It reeks of propaganda, whether this was intentional or not (and I'm willing to assume the latter).

    You are welcome to your own opinions, but please don't imply that I am deceiving myself. It's rude and unnecessary, whatever you believe about the article.

    Incidentally, I agree with the other David that the EU nanny state is a joke. This political claim is relevant because it demonstrates the sheer hypocrisy and monied interests at work in banning certain fragrance ingredients while only applying sin taxes to cigarettes (which are inarguably deadly products).

    Also, if you (and I don't mean you personally) happen to be in the business of manufacturing synthetic alternatives, your business model will inevitably profit from the banning and/or restriction of naturals. I'd suggest that there is an immediate conflict of interest in these companies supporting the IFRA in any way.

  12. #42
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    Hi,

    excuse me for my bad english. i'm agree with many observations here : this is a good editorial but, i think, a bit "IFRA oriented" point-of-view.

    I'm agree for "safety consumer", i'm agree for rational approach to save perfumes, etc.etc.

    But :

    1 ) In the world exist profict, money and interests, that's not a little problem...

    2) In the city of Bruxelles live about 15.000 lobbyes-people, and their time are very occupied ,only for "safety consumers" and "people interests" ? I dont know...

    This article is very technical but not enough "political", this is its weakest point,

    my 2 cents, hi

    Geco

  13. #43

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    Hi Geco,

    I agree with you completely. We should at the very least be suspicious of the interests at play here.

    By the way, welcome to Basenotes :).

  14. #44
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    Pia, thank you for this article. I found it very interesting and educational. I appreciate the effort you put into it.

  15. #45
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    I totally agree with rogalal.

  16. #46
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    Has nothing to do with protecting your health. Has everything to do with billions of dollars a year being made by substituting more costly naturals with less costly synthetic molecules. Easier to make, transport, use, etc. Never ending things that can never replace the need for natural ingredients in order to make the complexity needed for great fragrance. Simple pre-composed bases (not basenotes) throughout the fragrance, everything anchored by Iso E Super, sugary molecules and not very costly musks. No matter how much money you give them, most perfumers today couldn't conceive of making one of the classics.

  17. #47

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    Exactly right.

  18. #48

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    Just popping in to say thank you to everyone who has read and commented on this so far.

    As for the replacement of naturals with synthetics - I briefly mention in the article that due to current chemical regulation (REACH) + due to the existing costs of R&D for new, novel materials + due to the risk that a new, novel material might later be found to be IFRA-restriction worthy after all (thereby removing a lot of its value)... creating new aromachems is not actually a viable solution to replacing naturals at all. It's incredibly complicated and expensive. What is happening, though, is that when certain synthetic materials have been banned or restricted, new synthetics to replace them have to be created (folione -> neofolione, for instance).

    With naturals, reconstructions, fractions or special grades can sometimes replace the whole oil (for instance furanocoumarin-free bergamot).

    I am absolutely not advocating the use of synthetics over naturals in this article - only pointing out that we must not pretend they're not all chemicals, regardless of the source. We must join forces and consider whether we can lobby for more reasonable regulations overall and to do that has to come from a base of scientific argument, not from one of emotional appeal.

    Aesthetically, I adore naturals and love to use high proportions of them in my work when the brief allows it. I don't know any perfumer who doesn't love naturals. The brief, budget (and base product if not fine fragrance) dictate the work when you work behind-the-scenes.

    At the moment, there are only a few people who seem to be at pains to get to the bottom of things and to argue from a position of reality. A lot of the bureaucracy seems to be set up to be seen to protect consumers (rather than actually protecting them) and a lot of the anti-IFRA (or anti-EU) lobbying seems to be a kind of marketing exercise to highlight the use of naturals in one's brand.

    Until we operate from a base level where we engage with reality and join forces despite our differences we will be a divided bunch with a few weak, mewling voices which will remain largely unheard.

  19. #49
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    Let's put reality to the side for a minute.

    If all current Chanel No. 5 bottles were removed from the market, and a vast stash of 50,000 unopened old bottles of the vintage original were found somewhere, all perfectly preserved. These old bottles were put up for sale and sold within one week. That means there are 50,000 people out there now using the deadly vintage No.5.

    From a health perspective, what sort of reactions, illnesses, diseases etc. can we expect from these 50,000 people because of using this fragrance, over a period of 1 year, 5 years, 20 years ? Death, cancer, respiratory issues, contact dermatitis etc. ? This is a serious question.

    It seems to me that the whole EU / IFRA enterprise is just massive overkill. Enjoying vintage fragrances is a fairly benevolent pastime, compared to a host of other pastimes.

  20. #50
    Avoirdupois
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    I'm still laughing out loud at the opening paragraph; in particular the sentence "He gets up every morning rearing to go.".

    No doubt you meant RARING to go. What a gaffe!

  21. #51

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    I couldn't stop laughing at the writer's second paragraph: "He gets up every morning rearing to go.".

    HUH? Obviously she doesn't know that the expression is "raring to go". The idea of this imaginary 45-year old man "rearing" to go every morning is hilarious (and very embarrassing for the writer).

    The article is overly-long by FAR and never seems to come to any point. I lost interest about 60% of the way through it, gave up.

  22. #52

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    Thank you for pointing out the typo. I'll ask Grant to fix it. I do have these articles looked at by an ex Sunday Times sub before they are submitted (because English is not my first language), but the odd blooper sometimes gets through. Always happy to see people are reading with enough care to spot this stuff.

  23. #53

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    Thank you for going out on a limb to frame this complex issue. There's a dearth of objective information on the subject and I appreciate your willingness to share!

    The fact of the matter is we're heading towards greater regulation in cosmetics. The question is, who's taking the lead? So far it's big business because they have the means to lobby for solutions that better suit their needs (i.e. restricting or banning ingredients instead of requiring the labeling of POTENTIALLY irritating constituents). But what about everyone else (artisan makers, connoisseurs, etc)? Where do we fit in? Are we going to sit idly by while Rome burns and lash out at each other?

    We need to demand information and clarification. We need transparency. So far, IFRA has been somewhat opaque like the industry it represents. We have the right to learn about the science and methods of obtaining results. Why doesn't IFRA have an informational website where one could learn about lavender, for example and its potential for sensitization, how that could happen, the reasons for restricting it's use and alternatives that are recommended. Without any objective information on the subject I find myself becoming inherently suspicious when the alternative to naturals "happen" to be synthetically derived components, but still, I'd like to see the science. That kind of outreach would be a starting point.

    As an artisan maker and advocate (I founded FRAGments to raise awareness for artisan perfumery), I'd like to educate myself on the subject in an objective way. I want to learn all I can about the materials I use, how to handle them safely and ensure they will be safe for others to enjoy. But I also want to create art and have the freedom to explore this medium.

    Is that too much to ask?

  24. #54
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    THIS....which is why I gave the example of tobacco/ cigarettes. It's not about health safeguards. It's all about money.
    <div class="bnsotd"><b>Currently wearing:</b> <a href="ID26120772.html"><img src="http://www.basenotes.net/photos/products/33/26120772-4846.jpg"> Héritage Eau de Toilette by Guerlain</a></div>

  25. #55
    theperfumegarden
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    Thank you for such an in-depth article Pia.

    As an artisan perfumer, I understand and share the frustration and the animosity that many people have towards IFRA. Whilst I use some synthetics in mixed media fragrances when creating for other organisations, my own passion and my own business focus is in all natural perfumery in the UK, so the regulations are particularly hard to adhere to when attempting to design quality all-natural fragrance. In this respect, I do not particularly care about the natural vs synthetic debate, to me is a matter of doing what I love most, but using only naturals makes it so much harder!

    Is IFRA a friend or a foe? To be honest I am inclined to think it's a friend to some, but a foe to others. Having been affected so severely, both artistically and financially, by IFRA and EU regulations, I personally feel a lot of animosity, and yet, I still see the need for some regulation, as I do agree that there is an increasing risk of over exposure that could get out of hand because of the number of products that contain theses allergens. We all know that over exposure can lead to sensitisation so we need to take this issue seriously, but I wish that IFRA would actually care to support small and artisan producers like many of the people commenting on this article, so that over-regulation doesn't drive us out of business, and completely insane in the process.

    Marina~

  26. #56

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    The SCCS recently published their opinion on tagete extract and oil for cosmetic leave-on-products. When I was examining the level of thiophene derivatives in a tagete oil, I thought to myself, the use of tagete in cosmetic products will decline due to their opinion. The beautiful odor of tagete might become a note more commonly found in vintage fragrances rather than contemporary fragrances. In todays’ global market place, the banning, restriction, and general regulations on cosmetic products and fragrances is a shame, yet the need for compliance cannot be ignored. When planning to comply with the regulations for cosmetic products and fragrances the task has become significantly more challenging.

  27. #57

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    Thank you Pia, I like some of your ideas, such as different labels for different situations. In this increasingly regulatory environment, I have sometimes wondered whether "contains fragrance" might be sufficient for most situations. There is a thing called "evidence-based medicine". It means that, in spite of all the in vitro evidence, in vivo evidence, pre-clinical trials and various phases of clinical trials - does the treatment actually accomplish what it's supposed to accomplish when administered to patients? Sometimes the answer is, surprisingly, no. In the case of EU and IFRA regulations, we are at the equivalent stage of in vitro and in vivo evidence only for many substances - we have not even got to "clinical trials". We have little idea how much risk fragrance materials actually present, or whether no-adverse-effect levels exist for human populations in the real world. I would argue that we don't know, in spite of IFRA's elaborate modeling, where these levels actually lie, and patch testing is an extremely blunt instrument, in which results are highly dependent on the brand of patch used. Does restricting citral or cinnamaldehyde in a consumer product actually protect consumers from adverse skin reactions? In theory, it should do. But does the medicine actually work? Considering the size and extent of the regulatory industry, you would think we might have an inkling of an answer by now. I know there are continuing attempts to broaden the palette of suspect allergens to be tested. But in an important way, this misses the point. Where is the evidence that prohibition or restriction meaningfully protect consumers? As yet, there is no end in sight to fragrance regulation. It's time for a reality check.

  28. #58

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    A very interesting and informative piece. As an economist, I was also under the assumption that the whole IFRA thing was a way to manipulate the market in some ways. But I think you've made a good case that this is not the main story.

    Reading through your apologetic tone (which I think most BNers will object to), I understand your thesis as: regulators gone wild while the industry doesn't care. Safe perhaps water, everything else can pretty much cause reactions of some type, so there's no limit to what expanding regulators can do. But the second part of the thesis (which the article didn't talk much about) is that the industry doesn't seem to care. After all, industries are pretty good at limiting regulations (via lobbying, as somebody was pointing out).

    But, to cite a case, Mr A of LMVH fame couldn't care less. After all, he was cheapening his stable well before IFRA came screaming.

    cacio

  29. #59
    Basenotes Institution pluran's Avatar
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    Hilarious.

    All world events revolve around five things: M-O-N-E-Y. At approximately $35 billion a year and rising approximately another $5 billion a year, perfumery qualifies as a massive world event. Chandler Burr's book The Perfect Scent makes it perfectly clear that modern perfumery is predicated on lies and the withholding of information. The EU/IFRA stuff is just another extension of it.

  30. #60

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    Dear Robert, thank you for your comments. Following from your analogy, perhaps it could be said that the current 'medicine' is really a placebo and nobody has the money or stamina to do anything else. The placebo seems to be working in a way, so that's what we've got.

    Perhaps it's not quite that bad, but after the amount of reading I've done for this, one would have hoped to see a bit more robust evidence of consumer protection (the intent is certainly there, but the tools and the logic aren't always as robust as they could be).

    I agree that it's time for a reality check. In a utopia, people from all parts of the fragrant world would form a lobby group based on reality (rather than emotional arguments and conspiracy theories) and try to address our apparent slide to 'safer' fragrances. Here is where the money question really comes in. How would such activity be funded? The research required to understand what is really going on, what is really needed, and to set up the logistics side, resources and education necessitated by an overhaul..... where would the money for that come from?

    My fear is that if those questions are asked, left hanging in the air, and the players go back to dealing in the 'that'll have to do' placebo solutions, we risk getting to a point where the logical progression of our 'disease' (stretching your analogy to its limits) will demand an amputation or three. It feels like it's time for a re-think.




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