Fragrance allergy leads Pennsylvania to ban Axe products

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

A student at a high school in Pennsylvania had such a strong allergic reaction, allegedly to fragrance from Axe deodorant and colognes, the boy ended up in hospital forcing the school to ban the brand.

The principle of the Freedom High School, located in the small town of Bethlehem posted a warning on the school’s website, asking parents, staff and students to be aware of the potential medical issue and asking arising from the fragrance contained in the Axe product.

“This allergy is potentially life threatening for this student. Most recently this student has been transported to the hospital by ambulance for emergency medical treatment due to this student being exposed to Axe Body Spray while attending school,”​ the statement read.

The statement then goes on to stipulate that the school wanted to take into consideration the student’s allergy to the fragrance in the products and as a consequence requested that all staff and students refrain from using it while on the campus.

Unilever investigating the matter

The boy, who has not been named, is said to have recovered from the allergic reaction and is now continuing to school at home, in an effort to avoid future contact with the fragrance and the possibility of another allergic reaction, a report in the International Science Times stated.

According the Environmental Working Group, a range of nine Axe body sprays that are currently available in the US market have a hazard score of between four and five, which puts it in the moderately hazardous category.

Unilever, which manufacturers the product, said that it was aware of the reported allergic incident and is following its own line of investigation.

Report highlights fragrance allergies

A recent report by health advocacy group ‘Women’s Voices for the Earth’ is claiming that "secret chemicals" used in fragrances in personal care products are causing allergic reactions and sensitivity to US consumers. 'Secret Scents: How Hidden Fragrance Allergens Harm Public Health'​ features the Group stating that fragrance in personal care products is one of the most frequently identified allergens and that consumers need to know what chemicals are used in scented products “so we can make informed choices to protect our health."

According to director of science and research for Women’s Voices for the Earth, Alexandra Scranton; “Every day too many women suffer from reactions to the secret chemicals used in fragrances in their household products​.”

The report estimates that because of lack of disclosure of fragrance ingredients, dermatologists face an uphill battle in identifying what is causing a patient's reactions, making it difficult for the patient to avoid the allergen in question.

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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