Must Read: Toxicological Imperialism

Click here to read Cropwatch's latest newsletter. The main issues continue to be the takeover of the fragrance industry by powerful regulatory bodies:
1) Editorial Comment: Regulatory Nonesense - How Much Longer Do We Have To Endure Before Common Sense Pervails?
2) Meeting between Cropwatch - The Perfume Foundation, and the EU Cosmetic Commission Staff in Brussles, July 3rd 2007
3) Cropwatch Comments re the Public Consultation on Perfumery Materials in the Framework of Council Directive 76/768/EEC Relative to Cosmetic Products
4) The Adulteration of Essentail Oils - and the Consequences to Aromatherapy and Natural Perfumery

Cropwatch is also seeking volunteers to help examine the following areas:

1. Furanocoumarins. Academics & industrialists are helping us construct a massive data-base, which we will make publicly available, so we can all see the issues for ourselves. But we need more help.
2. Methyl eugenol carcinogenicity - challenges to the present accepted & outdated view.
3. Dimethyl & diethyl phthalates - ignored data & any associated industry conspiracy issues (thanks to the Perfume Foundation for this lead).
4. Sensitisers - ignored contrary evidence to the '26 Sensitisers' issue & new policy initiatives.
5. Issues of transparency & secrecy, freedom of information & the withholding of safety data from the public domain within professional trade & research organisations. This area includes how regulatory bodies have processed scientific evidence, & examining records of how scientific decisions were made. We have limited evidence from a number of academics that an 'expert' EU advisory committee has not properly dealt with (or perhaps have not properly understood) submitted evidence in particular cases; these need public exposure, & we need to establish a more robust code of practice.

Citrus Splash No More?

orange splash, originally uploaded by Photonut (Mr. Dave).

Citrus perfume ingredients are set to disappear, according to Cropwatch’s recent report.

The EU regulatory boards are hitting again with draconian regulations to an essential natural component of the fragrance industry. This time it is citrus oils, present in almost all perfumes today. In another mind-blowing act, without public consultation, the EU cosmetic regulatory board have decided to pull the rug under all citrus oils, because the alleged danger of their furanocoumarins (FCF) contents. On April 4th 2007, Sabine Lecrenier, EU’s Head of Unit for the Cosmetics Sector reported to Cropwatch that by the end of this month (April 2007), both bergapten (5-MOP) and xanthotoxin (8-MOP) (either individually or additively) will be restricted to 1ppm in all finished products, even when naturally present (meaning: in natural essential oils such as citrus and angelica).

It has been known for along time that furanocoumarins (that are found largely in citrus oils) present a risk of phototxicity (burning and pigmentation of the skin when the area covered with the oil is exposed to the sun). This risk is fairly low when the low levels of citrus oils in the composition are maintained, and is even further lowered when citrus oils where the furanocoumarins have been removed is used (i.e.: bergapten-free bergamot essential oil). Furanocoumarins are also present in high levels in other oils than citrus, for instance: angelica. Furthermore, when talking about fragrance, the risk is particularly low when the fragrance is applied to specific areas that are not typically exposed to the sun, such as the wrists and behind the ears.

The reasons behind this decision could not be just safety. There must be a hidden political agenda behind this move, which is remained to be revealed – and is most likely going to benefit the mega corporations of synthetic aromachemicals.

It’s far away, in Europe, you say? Why should we care?
If you think that way, I suggest you glipse quickly at the “made in” lable on your perfume bottle. It will mostly likely be a country in Europe, France in most cases. If you think this won’t affect you because you live somewhere else, you are terribly wrong! Besides, the mega corporations that produce most of the perfumes for all the mainstream labels are probably not going to bother and formulate a different fragrance according to different regulations in each country. They are probably going to go on the safe side and just go ahead and blindly comply with the EU regulations.

And what’s more disturbing, no one has asked the consumers what they want. No one asked the perfumers if they will be able to handle (or want to) such restrictions on their creativity. Citrus notes are such an viable part of the perfume world that it’s going to be feel very lonely and depressing to see them removed from my organ… Thankfully, I am my own boss.

And last but not least worrying of all - the entire industry of citrus growers, distillers, wholesalers, traders is going to suffer so badly – just imagine the loss of jobs, world wide, just because of the greed of the aromachemical companies. Perhaps only the dryout of petroleum will stop their greed from growing on the expense of others. We’ll just have to wait and see.

A few words about the importance of citrus oils:
Citrus essential oils have been an essential component of the modern fragrance industry for centuries. The first alcohol-based perfumes were made of citrus peels tinctured in alcohol along with herbs and spices. These early perfumes were called “Aqua Mirabillis” (Miracle Waters), and were used both internally as a medicine and externally as a refreshing perfume. You may be familiar with famous names of aux such as Carmelite Water, Florida Water, Eau de Cologne, Hungary Waters, and others. Such perfumes will no longer be manufactured if indeed this new regulation is to be realized. So stock up on your 4711 and Eau Imeriale!

This is without mentioning many other perfumes that would have been completely different without the use of pure citrus oil – Shalimar would be come a sickeningly artificial vanilla & lemon pudding, the Chypre family, already suffering from a large reduction of the oakmoss content, would now become even further compromised (can you imagine!). When I look at all the formulas of my perfumes, there are only very few that have no citrus in them - Film Noir and Epice Sauvage, and that’s about it. Citrus notes add an aldehydic and a cheerful fruitiness to many compositions, from all the fragrance families – Oriental, Chypre, Floral, Woody – and of course, the entire fragrance family that is named after them for a very obvious reason – Citrus.

To finish off this depressing post, let’s try to find some hope. There is something you can do. You, as a consumer, have a lot more power than you may like to think. You can protest, you can write letter to the EU regulatory boards, and you can join Cropwatch’s Campaign for Real Perfume by emailing Cropwatch and expressing your interest in joining the campaign and be able to decide for yourself what you use – real perfumes, containing the richness and beauty of real botanical essences, or completely artificial fragrances, made only of test-tube molecules.

Industry Trends: The Future of Perfumery

Those of you who followed closely the recent developments of Cropwatch’s petition and actions to restrain IFRA’s threats on the use of natural materials in perfumery recently may have already read IFRA’s public statement of their support of synthetics and promoting them as the main (if not the only) means to add scent to our lives.

If you managed to delve thus far into these recent developments, you are probably now left wondering what is the future of perfumery and where is the industry going. As it stands now, I made a few observations and speculations and I can only hope that regardless of how the mainstream perfumery is going to smell like, you, who love perfumes, will be able to at least make your own choice about how to smell and what to put on your skin.

IFRA’s official position on synthetics and against natural is going to create a clear schism in the industry. Natural vs. Synthetic will no longer be a theoretical debate in books, on blogs and perfume forums. It will be real separation between the industry of perfumes made only of synthetics, and perfumes made only of natural. There will be no in-between as we observed last century, with classics such as Jicky, No. 5 and others. There will be a complete dichotomy in the industry. These classics will most likely be gradually reformulated to include only synthetic substitutes, and more likely – will be replaced by new perfumes that call for no naturally sourced building blocks in their formulation.

Despite the power of the big fragrance & flaovour corporations, and organizations such as IFRA which stands behind the aromachemicals industry and support its efforts to ban naturals and vanish them from the face of the earth, I would like to be optimistic and say that this will not happen. While those mega-corporations are all plastic-happy in an excitement that resembles the love for lino floors and plastic jewelry in the 50’s – a vast portion of the consumer world (and the most educated, I must add) is moving towards the use of natural and organic materials in their life, and is trying to stay away from artificial, man-made materials, genetically engineered and pesticide-sprayed foods.

And so, intelligent consumers will soon collaborate with niche perfumery houses that care to keep using natural aromatics, and together they will support growers and distillers of natural essences around the world so these traditional crops will be maintained and cared for, and those precious essences that have been friends to mankind since the birth of civilization will be nurtured and preserved.

While the large companies are producing more and more perfumes that are less and less satisfying as a whole – the consumers are left to take matter to their own hands. We’ve seen the growing demand for bespoke and custom perfumes, and this is only going to grow. After all, in a fragrance market that adds more than 500 fragrances each year (I heard that this year it will be even 700 or 800!), it may be a lot more convenient, time efficient and cost effective to commission a personal perfumer rather than spend the year trying three fragrances a day until you find the right one…

Furthermore, perfume consumers will lean more and more towards creating their own personalized scents and scenting their own body products. This concept has been quite popular for many years, but now it will make even more sense than ever. People have been mixing and matching perfumes for a long time, and many companies have been trying to cash on that and launch elaborate lines of incomplete perfumes for that purpose (sold, of course, for more than an average, “complete” perfume would), and encourage over spending on behalf of the customer. I think more and more people will now be curious to learn how to blend their own perfumes instead of relying on the pre-mixed, often under-satisfying concoctions of such lines.

Will the prices for naturals go higher? Will the decrease because of the lack of demand from the large fragrance houses? We are yet to see. I am not an economy expert, but this situation could lead to interesting developments in the industry and the marketplace that I find very difficult to predict. But I think either way, the result will be extreme and will make a mark that will be hardly forgotten in the history of perfume.

You are invited to partake in this discussion and tell us what you think will happen to perfume in the future. Is there any hope? Are we going to have a choice as consumers? Are perfumers becoming mere puppets of large money-driven corporations? Are we going to be able to afford quality perfumes with natural essences in the future? Are ntural essences going to become completely extinct? Tell us what you think, we will listen and publish your comments.

Must Read: Tony Burfield's Article on Basenotes

Don't miss Tony Burfield (Cropwatch's co-founder) article on Basenotes:
Tony Burfield speaks of the current events in the perfume industry regulation and how they affect consumers and perfumers. This article is extremely relevant and touches upon very important issues in the perfume industry today, as well as its future.
The article is supplemented by explanations to the various acronyms discussed in the article, provided by Anya McCoy (Artisan Natural Perfumers' Guild director). For more information about the issue, click on the FAQ on this page (scroll down to the bottom, and it will download as a PDF; if you have problems reading a PDF, feel free to contact me).

Artisan Natural Perfumers' Guild Press Release re IFRA's 40th Amendment

-Boycott Called to Halt Adoption of International Fragrance Association’s (IFRA) 40th Amendment by UK-based Watchdog Organization Cropwatch Gains Momentum with Online Poll and Petition. Poll by Perfumer and Flavorist newsletter P&Fnow shows a landslide for Cropwatch with 85.1% of the vote.

-USA- based Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild joins in effort to Demand Opening the Process Up for Public Input and Review of the Process before thousands of small perfumery and toiletry businesses are adversely affected by restrictive, unfair compliance standards.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MIAMI SHORES, Fla./February 8, 2007. On February 7, 2007, fragrance and flavor trade magazine Perfumer & Flavorist released the results of an online poll showing 85.1% of readers in favor of boycotting proposed fragrance industry guidelines that will heavily limit the use of natural essential oils in perfumes and cosmetics.

Compliance with these guidelines (the IFRA 40th Amendment) requires that listed essential oils and naturally occurring constituents be kept to certain minimal levels in consumer products. At the core of the Amendment are safety issues in regard to skin reactions. The ANPG and Cropwatch fully support sensible safety guidelines to protect the consumer, but do not believe IFRA has proved that many of the essential oils affected present the supposed risk, nor have they allowed input from the impacted concerns, especially small businesses.

Although IFRA guidelines are only mandatory for their members, they have become the industry norm globally. Consequently, the livelihood of many small businesses is being threatened by an organization that does not represent them. Adhering to the complex measures not only requires sophisticated computer software, which most small natural products businesses do not possess, it also unfairly targets natural ingredients. Without a level playing field, these small businesses cannot be expected to compete. Approximately 200 essential oils will be controlled by IFRA if their 40th amendment is ratified.

Previous IFRA guidelines have been responsible for the reformulation of many classic perfumes, essentially destroying works of art that existed in liquid form. It is asserted that perhaps a warning label would have sufficed in allowing the original perfume, scent intact, to remain on shelves. Just as demand for natural toiletries and fragrances is growing worldwide, the 40th Amendment could do damage from the level of growers, distillers, up to suppliers and manufacturers. The end result may be the destruction of businesses and the absence of genuine naturally scented shampoos, creams, lotions, perfumes and soaps from store shelves.

To illustrate how the existing and proposed regulations from IFRA do not make sense, ANPG President Anya McCoy recently blogged on Peanuts vs. Perfume. Peanuts can kill susceptible people, yet their sales are unrestricted: Some perfumes may cause a rash, yet the International Fragrance Association’s (IFRA) 40th Amendment wants to severely limit the public’s access to them. Consumers are allowed to make informed decisions about peanut products, yet with IFRA and EU (see the related FAQ) guidelines and regulations in place, consumers will no longer have the freedom to make informed decisions about which scented products they wish to use. Access to aromatherapy essential oils may also be limited.
The ANPG believes the amendment may be unreasonable because the measures are based on questionable scientific premises, and they are decided behind closed doors without any possibility of public discussion or debate. Since the call for a boycott was proposed two weeks ago by little-guy Cropwatch, 549 people have signed an online petition, backing the challenge to the Goliath IFRA. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ifra40/signatures.html

Therefore, the ANPG joins Cropwatch in asking for a moratorium on the IFRA 40th amendment, until these issues have been fully addressed. We ask that a review of the scientific methodologies that were used in the original determinations of skin sensitization be examined, that the compliance requirements be reviewed, and that warning labels on products be considered in place of prohibition or restriction. Guild Founder, noted natural perfumer and author Mandy Aftel, and Guild President, perfumer Anya McCoy will be working with others in the industry to challenge the IFRA stance and open the amendment adoption process to the public.

For more information, you may download a detailed FAQ from: http://artisannaturalperfumers.org/cropwatch_ifra.htm

Anya McCoy, President
Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild
P.O. Box 245
Miami Shores, FL 33153
PHONE. 305-756-0065
Website: http://artisannaturalperfumers.org

email: http://artisannaturalperfumers.org/contact.htm
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