Manufacturers cannot copyright the chemical formulas for their scents, so with help from the government they can conceal it as a trade secret. This creates what is known as the “fragrance” loophole, a catch-all term for what can mean literally hundreds of hidden chemicals. Products with an ingredient list containing fragrances, scents and perfume can get away with almost anything.
When you browse a store and look at all of the chemical laden products on the shelves, you might assume that because they are able to be sold, the government must’ve approved them after rigorous testing. That is a wildly naive assumption to make, since it basically only applies to food, drugs and cosmetics, and there is more regulation surrounding how the products can be marketed, rather than what dangers they actually contain. Inside of the word “fragrance” can hide chemicals that are proven to be DNA altering mutagens, hormone disruptors, carcinogens, as well as a bevy of toxins that can have long-term if not immediate adverse effects.
A lot of these chemicals have been around for decades, and the way they continue being “discovered” as carcinogens and banned from the marketplace is a testament to the fact we are playing catch-up. What’s worse is that we’re not being given the choice with full disclosure, and are treated as guinea pigs in the reckless game these companies play.