Help uncover the hidden hazards in fragrance

FemmeToxic is collaborating with the David Suzuki Foundation to find out more about secret fragrance chemicals lurking in the personal care products you use each day and we need your help!

In Canada, companies don't have to list on the label all of the chemicals they use in their fragranced body products.

A loophole in our ingredient labelling requirements allows them to use the generic term parfum (or fragrance) instead of listing specific fragrance chemicals. Thus, a single product may contain dozens of unlisted chemicals that have been linked to health problems like asthma attacks, headaches, infertility and cancer.

You might be surprised how many products you commonly use contain fragrance or parfum: shampoos, lotions, deodorants, lotions, makeup and more. In the David Suzuki Foundation's 2010 survey of Dirty Dozen ingredients in cosmetics, "parfum" was identified in more than half of all products.

We want to get in touch with companies that manufacture personal care products to find out what's in their fragrance mixtures, and we need your help.

Do you have a personal care products that lists "parfum" or "fragrance" as an ingredient?

You have a right to know what is in your products. And as a consumer you have a powerful voice. Together, we'll let companies know that they can't keep these potentially harmful chemicals hidden.

So write to the manufacturer of a fragrance or parfum-containing products that you use and ask them what fragrance chemicals they contain. To make it simpler, there is a sample letter you can copy and paste below.

And when you hear back from the company, please forward the response to the David Suzuki Foundation. They will compile the responses received by concerned consumers like you and use the results in the on-going campaign to get toxic chemicals out of consumer products.

STEP ONE: Find contact information for the company that manufactures your product

Most companies have an online web form that you can use to submit a question about fragrance ingredients. Here are a few common ones. If the manufacturer of your product is not in this list, look them up online.

  • Alberto Culver — Alberto, Noxzema, St. Ives, TRESemme, etc.
  • Belvedere (Email) — Down Under, European Formula, Live Clean, Nature's Basics, etc.
  • Body Shop (Email)
  • Colgate-Palmolive — Irish Spring, Softsoap, Speedstick, etc.
  • Henkel — Dial, Right Guard, Schwarzkopf, Soft & Dri, etc.
  • Hain Celestial Group — Alba, Avalon Organics, JASON, Queen Helene, etc.
  • Johnson & Johnson — Aveeno, Clean & Clear, Lubriderm, Johnson's, Neutrogena, etc.
  • Kao Brands — Jergens, John Frieda, KMS California, etc.
  • Proctor & Gamble — Aussie, Clairol, Gilette, Ivory, Olay, Pantene, Secret, etc.
  • Unilever — Axe, Degree, Dove, Suave, Sunsilk, Vaseline, etc.
STEP TWO: Send the company your note asking for answers about what is in their fragrance

Below is a sample letter you can copy. Follow the company link above to go to the company's website and paste your note into their form. For companies that provide a contact email, you can copy the text below and paste it into an email from your email account.

Important: Remember to include the complete name of the product you're asking about!

When you receive a response, please forward it to us at fragrance@davidsuzuki.org.

Sample letter to manufacturer:

Hello,

I am writing with a question about your product: fill in the exact name of your product here

Fragrance/parfum is listed as an ingredient and I would like to know exactly what this comprises. Could you please provide me with a list of the specific fragrance chemicals used in this product? I am particularly interested to know whether this product contains phthalates and any of the 26 chemicals that are recognized sensitizers and must be identified in the ingredient list on products sold in Europe.

I believe that consumers have the right to know what chemicals are in the products we buy, and I hope you agree.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you!

STEP THREE: Tell us who you contacted

Fill out the form below today to let us know what company (or companies!) you contacted.

We promise to stay in touch and will keep you posted on the results from all of the concerned consumers like you! And please remember to forward any responses you get from the companies to fragrance@davidsuzuki.org.

 Fill it out the response form here


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