SC Johnson’s “secret” corporate fragrances are about to be let out of the bottle.
From perfumes to dishwashing and laundry detergents to candles, chemical fragrances are in practically everything.
But manufacturers do not have to disclose which chemicals are used in their proprietary fragrances, protected by the U.S. Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. And some of these products can contain dozens of chemicals in just one fragrance.
Now, major personal care brand SC Johnson (Glade, Pledge, Shout, Windex) has announced it’s going to disclose all of its fragrance ingredients used in its products. Similarly, Clorox recently announced it would reveal “fragrance allergens” in its products, reports the Guardian. “It’s a big deal, not just because consumers want to know what chemicals they’re putting in and around their bodies, but also because many of the chemicals that make up fragrances happen to be allergens.”
Some credit can go to the group Women’s Voices for the Earth, which has been pressuring brands including SC Johnson to disclose its fragrance ingredients because of the health risks, particularly to children. Studies have connected fragrance exposure to a variety of health problems from headaches and skin irritation to difficulty breathing. But chemical fragrances have also been linked to hormonal and behavioral issues as a result of endocrine disrupting effects connected with some of the ingredients.
SC Johnson says it will start disclosing information next spring, with details on its air-fresheners, sprays, candles, oils and gels, reports the Guardian.
If you’re wondering why the company isn’t disclosing these ingredients immediately, here’s why: SC Johnson doesn’t manufacture them. Chemical fragrances are formulated and sold to manufacturers already blended. So in order for the brands to disclose what is in a fragrance, it has to work with the supplier to decode its list of ingredients.
“The fragrance industry is keenly aware of the principle of the consumers’ right to know,” said Stephen Weller, director of communications for the International Fragrance Association. “Within this context different companies, and indeed countries or regions, have different approaches to providing both meaningful consumer information and the protection of intellectual property.”
And revealing fragrance ingredients could lead manufacturers to start creating cleaner products with fewer harsh ingredients, as transparency will give consumers yet another reason to opt for cleaner products – or better yet, make their own.
Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
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