The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Stacy Malkan, 202-321-6963,;
Stephenie Hendricks, 415-258-9151,;
Alex Formuzis, 202-667-6982,

Secret Chemicals Revealed in Celebrity Perfumes, Teen Body Sprays

President’s Cancer Panel Report Highlights Threat from Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals – Many Found in New Fragrance Study


A new analysis reveals that top-selling fragrance products--from Britney Spears' Curious and Hannah Montana Secret Celebrity to Calvin Klein Eternity and Abercrombie & Fitch Fierce
--contain a dozen or more secret chemicals not listed on labels,
multiple chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions or disrupt
hormones, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety by
the beauty industry's self-policing review panels.

The study of hidden toxic chemicals in perfumes comes on the heels
of last week's report by the President's Cancer Panel, which sounded
the alarm over the understudied and largely unregulated toxic chemicals
used by millions of Americans in their daily lives. The Cancer Panel
report recommends that pregnant women and couples planning to become
pregnant avoid exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals due to cancer
concerns. Hormone disruptors that may play a role in cancer were found
in many of the fragrances analyzed for this study.

"This monumental study reveals the hidden hazards of fragrances,"
said Anne C. Steinemann, Ph.D, Professor of Civil and Environmental
Engineering, Professor of Public Affairs, University of Washington.
"Secondhand scents are also a big concern. One person using a
fragranced product can cause health problems for many others."

For this study, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a national
coalition of health and environmental groups, commissioned tests of 17
fragranced products at an independent laboratory. Campaign partner
Environmental Working Group assessed data from the tests and the
product labels. The analysis reveals that the 17 products contained, on

  • Fourteen secret chemicals not listed on labels due to a loophole in
    federal law that allows companies to claim fragrances as trade secrets.
    American Eagle Seventy Seven contained 24 hidden chemicals, the highest number of any product in the study.
  • Ten sensitizing chemicals associated with allergic reactions such as asthma, wheezing, headaches and contact dermatitis. Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio contained 19 different sensitizing chemicals, more than any other product in the study
  • Four hormone-disrupting chemicals linked to a range of health effects including sperm damage, thyroid disruption and cancer. Halle by Halle Berry, Quicksilver and Jennifer Lopez J. Lo Glow each contained seven different chemicals with the potential to disrupt the hormone system.

The majority of chemicals found in this report have never been
assessed for safety by any publically accountable agency, or by the
cosmetics industry's self-policing review panels. Of the 91 ingredients
identified in this study, only 19 have been reviewed by the Cosmetic
Ingredient Review (CIR), and 27 have been assessed by International
Fragrance Association (IFRA) and the Research Institute for Fragrance
Materials (RIFM), which develop voluntary standards for chemicals used
in fragrance.

"Something doesn't smell right--clearly the system is broken," said
Lisa Archer, national coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at
the Breast Cancer Fund. "We urgently need updated laws that require
full disclosure of cosmetic ingredients so consumers can make informed
choices about what they are being exposed to."

"Fragrance chemicals are inhaled or absorbed through the skin, and
many of them end up inside people's bodies, including pregnant women
and newborn babies," said Jane Houlihan, senior vice president for
research at Environmental Working Group.

A recent EWG study found synthetic musk chemicals Galaxolide and
Tonalide in the umbilical cord blood of newborn infants. The musk
chemicals were found in nearly every fragrance analyzed for this study.
Twelve of the 17 products also contained diethyl phthalate (DEP), a
chemical linked to sperm damage and behavioral problems that has been
found in the bodies of nearly all Americans tested.


The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a national coalition of nonprofit
women's, environmental, public health, faith and worker safety
organizations. Our mission is to protect the health of consumers and
workers by securing the corporate, regulatory and legislative reforms
necessary to eliminate dangerous chemicals from cosmetics and personal
care products.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is working with endorsing
organizations, responsible businesses and thousands of citizen
activists to shift the cosmetics market toward safer products and to
advocate for smarter laws that protect our health from toxic chemicals
and encourage innovation of safer alternatives.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics coalition members include the
Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow (represented by Clean Water Action and
Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition), the Breast Cancer Fund,
Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth and
Women's Voices for the Earth. The Breast Cancer Fund, a national
501(c)(3) organization focused on preventing breast cancer by
identifying and eliminating the environmental links to the disease,
serves as the national coordinator for the Campaign.

The Environmental Working Group is a community 30 million strong, working to protect our environmental health by changing industry standards.

(202) 667-6982