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Something smells: report finds some fragrances not complying with state law

By Michelle Yeomans , 06-Nov-2012

The Washington Toxics Coalition has reported that some fragrance manufacturers are failing to meet state law by not reporting the presence of phthalates in their products to the Department of Ecology and the public.

The report “Something Smells: What Tween Perfume Makers Should Tell You, But Don’t” found perfume makers catering to children / teenagers or 'tweens' like Disney, Claire’s, Elizabeth Arden, and Abercrombie and Fitch were amongst companies not complying with state law.

We found that some children’s perfume and body sprays contain phthalates, yet these companies aren’t complying with the state law that requires them to report their presence."

Regulation

After the Children's Safe Product Act was passed in 2008, the Department of Ecology created a list of chemicals of very high concern to children. This list included phthalates, hormone-disrupting chemicals that can be found some fragrances and vinyl products.

By August of this year the Act required major companies to start reporting the presence of toxic chemicals in their products.

Phthalates are classified as hormone-disruptors and have been shown to affect reproductive development in children. They are also linked to asthma and obesity.

Findings

In it's research, the Coalition found nine out of 20 fragrance products tested to have contained phthalates. Of those nine, seven products are said to have contained over 5 ppm of the phthalate commonly known as DEP, which would trigger reporting requirements under the new state law.

Amongst the products were Claire's 'Pomegranate Body Spray', Disney’s 'Pixie Dust Perfume' and Elizabeth Arden’s 'Born Wild Perfume'.

It’s very disappointing, these companies need to come clean with consumers and report to Ecology,” says Erika Schreder, author of the report.

Industry response

In light of it's findings, the Coalition says of the companies it contacted only three responded on the matter.

UK chain Claire’s responded in a letter in regards to it’s Pomegranate Body Spray stating that; “is not a product that is intended to be used by children under age 12.

While Elizabeth Arden indicated in a phone call that it did not believe its products fell under the law’s jurisdiction and did not plan to report.

Elsewhere, Abercrombie and Fitch indicated that it was previously unaware of the law and would be contacting the Department of Ecology to determine whether it would report.

Companies whose products are used by children need to recognize and provide the required information about the presence of toxic chemicals in those products,” says Schreder.

The Department of Ecology must take enforcement action to ensure that all companies comply with this important law,” she added.

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