Irritating or not?
Let us look at the 39 perfume chemicals favoured by Procter and Gamble, another major multinational, (see e.g. Procter and Gamble, 2005) for use in laundry products and other consumables.
The original patent document referred to above, accessible via the link in my reference list, shows one list of perfume chemicals considered suitable by the company. I have identified 39 which appear repeatedly in their patent applications for a range of toiletries and cleaning products (see Appendix 1).
Research reveals that at least 29 of these 39 chemicals are classed as irritants according to at least one source. However, looking at just the issue of irritancy:
- companies and/or government bodies disagree as to whether or not 21 of the chemicals are irritants and/or which parts of the body are affected;
- for at least five of the chemicals there is conflict over irritancy even within the same website; and
- there is confusion over the identity of at least eight of the chemicals.
While researching this article and appendices, I encountered so many conflicting details regarding the identities of the chemicals that I could not investigate them all; otherwise I might never have finished!
The identity confusion means, for example, that test findings may be misleading. It also means that products may well be inadvertently reformulated at any time so that, even if a whole product has been tested and found safe on one or more occasions, it may not always be so. Users may be playing a form of Russian roulette, and so may anyone who comes into contact with them, their homes or their belongings, such as freshly-laundered clothes.
Not exactly reassuring, is it?
Another common problem is allergy.