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Problematic chemical substances found in popular perfumes placed in the EU market


hazardous chemicals EU REACH

A study and ingredients’ comparison done for 20 perfumes in Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands revealed that these perfumes contain substances of concern that have been listed by authoritative bodies. The study shows the presence of 26 problematic substances in 20 perfumes, and they can be categorised into the following groups:

  • Suspected Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs)
  • Reprotoxic Substances
  • Allergens
  • Substances that are harmful to the environment

The dangerous substances and their functions include:

Substances Functions
Alpha-isomethyl ionone Fragrance
Amyl Cinnamal Fragrance
Benzyl alcohol fragrance, solvent
Benzyl benzoate fragrance, solvent
Benzyl cinnamate fragrance
Benzyl salicylate fragrance
BHT antioxidant
Butylphenyl methylpropional fragrance
Cinnamyl alcohol fragrance
Citral fragrance
Citronellol fragrance
Citrus aurantium amara flower water fragrance, skin conditioning
Coumarin fragrance
Disodium EDTA stabilising
Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate UV absorber, stabiliser
Eugenol UV absorber, stabiliser
Farnesol fragrance
Geraniol fragrance
Hexyl cinnamal fragrance
Hydroxycitronellal fragrance
Isoeugenol fragrance
Limonene fragrance
Linalool fragrance
Parfum fragrance
Octocrylene UV absorber, stabiliser

This study was conducted by the Danish Consumer Council, Dutch NGO Erase All Toxins and Flemish NGO Stand up to Cancer. They suggest that an alternative is to use perfumes that have been awarded the EU or Nordic Swan Ecolabels. A full document on the study can be accessed here.


Last Update: 2022-01-04