The National Toxic Encephalopathy Foundation (NTEF) is intensifying its controversial campaign against Clarins' Angel Parfum with claims that it contains a dangerous ingredient and should therefore be reclassified as a drug by the FDA.
The Las Vegas-based interest group claims that Angel Parfum fits the FDA definition of a health hazard because it contains the scent Coumarin, which it considers to be a dangerous poison.
— Read more at cosmeticsdesign-europe.
Angel has been used by so many women all over the world, for so many years. And coumarin has been used in so many perfumes for so long… isn't this a bit farfetched? What harm does coumarin do then?
OK just read how harmful coumarin can be, but still..in how high a doseage? Anyway if it's all true and Angel is really dangerous to peoples health, then which other fragrances will be taken of the US market as well? There will be more I'm sure.
I've seen people still cooking with Tonka Bean (!) in other countries where it isn't a banned substance yet, it's a vanilla substitute in many places. Surely it isn't so toxic that it can't be used in small amounts in perfume. I'd be more worried about lead toys and teflon fumes if I were them.
Uh, never mind. I just looked at that organization's site. They seem to hate all things perfumed. Someone on there said that aldehydic fragrances cause liver failure, practically saying putting demeter perfume on a kid was akin to child abuse! Blah, blah, blah – I just love alarmists!
Yes, I think it is farfetched, and do note that the article uses the word “controversial”.
It is alarmist, but would love to know why they are so particularly focusing on Angel — almost like somebody just doesn't like the scent, or is a former disgruntled employee of Clarins or something.
On the website http://www.basenotes.net there are 175 fragrances mentioned that contain tonka bean.
Yes lead in toys and teflon fumes will be far more dangerous.
Is there an anti-fragrance movement somewhere?
But bear in mind that most of the time that you see “tonka bean” in a list of notes, what is being used is a synthetic substitute. I have no idea what Angel is using, and frankly not worried about it either way.
And the anti-fragrance movement is growing all the time, yes! More and more schools and offices are banning the use of fragrance products.
Here is a link to some of the “anti-frag movement” sites. If they would like to go away and live in scent-free bubbles, I wouldn't miss them a bit!
*the president of the NTEF is Angel De Fazio, so maybe it's a personal issue! LOL!
I saw the website, it is full of alarmbells about all kind of topics. They seem to love to scare people.
You might also find this website interesting:
I've used Angel for the past three years in rare, small doses, don't want to be paranoid now…
Hahaha yeah, lead in lipstick!!
If they ever ban Angel or other fragrances, please post plenty of notice. I will need to stock up.
People are so darn litigious anymore…are we supposed to live in a bubble? I'd be more worried about imports from China and cell phones.
Seriously don't think you have a thing to worry about — the FDA doesn't regulate fragrances, and they aren't likely to declare Angel a drug.
I've read that Chergui has lots of coumarin, too.
*Clutches bottle to chest*
Attention perfume police: You'll never take me alive! Confiscate the Angel, if you must, but you will never *ever* get my Chergui!
But speaking seriously for a moment: Perfume is such an easy target. First of all, no one needs to wear it, so it's easy to dismiss as frivolous and silly. And second, there are so many people who overuse it (clouds of Giorgio, anyone?). Third, it contains (unless it's a completely natural perfume) – GASP – synthetic chemicals! And everyone knows that chemicals are evil and dangerous and ultimately not to be trusted.
It is true that it is an easy target, and that everything on earth these days is over-regulated. I have been very dismayed already by all the IFRA regulations limiting the use of natural substances in perfume.
But as I've said before, I have a lot of sympathy for people who work in close spaces and don't want co-workers or fellow students wearing a ton of scent. There is nothing worse than working in an office (or sitting in a classroom) w/ windows that don't open and adding a ton of perfume to the already-stale air. But I know that isn't a popular stance among perfumistas!
This whole thread was a fun read. I'll argue with your last sentence only because it makes perfumistas sound so wildly unsympathetic. I think a good question is: where do we draw the line, and why? No fragrances? No scented products (e.g., shampoos) of any kind? Anything that leaves a detectable scent on you — i.e., what about smokers? People who use mothballs (gag!)
I can see both sides of the argument. We're having similar drama in schools about peanut bans, no home-baked goods, and candy bans (I can see both sides of those arguments, too, and am particularly sympathetic with the nut allergy people). But the argument on the other side comes down to: at what point are regulations too much?
Sounds like a personal vendetta to me. I read the rest of the article and it seems like they just don't like Clarins. There is evidence saying that particular ingredient is dangerous, but only in high doses. But am I the only one that feels that's not the actual issue they are trying to get at, it seems like it's a way for them to get at Clarins, from the things say such as; ''Clarins perfumes preferred by London terrorists'' Which is frankly stupid. Im pretty sure it wasn't Angel that made them go on suicide missions, she can be cloying but I didn't think Angel was that bad!
On a side note, has Angel been reformulated, I just bought a new bottle and it smells quite different in the top notes than before. Is it just me?
OK, you're right — that was too much of a blanket statement. I apologize.
Why no home-baked goods? And is there actually a child there w/ a nut allergy? If so, I sympathize greatly. People are always minimizing the nut thing, but if your own child could even possibly go into anaphalactic (I know I spelled that wrong) shock from someone's else's sandwich, you know, really. You'd want a no-nut policy. But I know of schools that don't allow nuts even though there aren't any children attending with nut allergies, and that is over the top, IMHO.
I like the no candy thing too — my son's school doesn't allow it, and it makes life easier for those of us who want to keep some control over the sugar intake. But it does get crazy. At another local school, one of the parents was taking items from the lunch room to have them analyzed & then using the data to try to get the chocolate chip cookies removed from the menu. C'mon.
Anyway. I don't care if schools ban the use of perfume — you should be allowed to regulate in the public sphere. But I do want my oakmoss back. I see that as a private issue that doesn't affect anyone other than the user of the scent. I'm willing to take the risk…
Oh, they definitely have it out for Clarins, I agree! The terrorist thing gave me a chuckle.
I don't know if it has been reformulated — I don't wear Angel, sorry! But most everything else has been reformulated, so it is likely.
And I'm wearing that now…feeling faint…pulse is racing…
Just kidding, although I am wearing that now and actually bought an extra bottle…Barney's only had two left.
You're probably right. I'm just fed up with daily stories that everything I eat, drink, breathe and wear is going to kill me. Good grief.
I still have the original Angel and I still have the orriginal Opium…some orrriginal Smileys anyone?? I can get enough for everybody and at least :))s will stop us worrying.
I don't have too much sympathy for the scent police in general (at least those who demand that no one gets to smell like anything-ever). If you can smell my conditioner or perfume then you are standing within 2 feet of me and I hope you've been invited!
A return to common courtesy, hygeine and just plain good manners would solve a lot of problems all at once. Whether it be cell phones, perfume, driving or dealing with unruly kids!
Any perfume lover worth her salt should always be aware of how strong her perfume is and adjust accordingly. (in a perfect world, I know…)
I skipped applying at two preschools that ban nuts. We eat a LOT of nuts. It may sound silly, but packing a nut-free lunch for the twins wasn't in the cards if I could find an alternative. I completely respect the schools' right to declare themselves nut-free up front; at the same time, I went elsewhere. I know kids with serious nut allergies, which is scary for them, I really feel for them.
The home-baked-goods ban in the public schools is the one that makes me insane, because it doesn't achieve anything. It doesn't help its intended beneficiaries, the kids with nut allergies — because everything store bought is labeled MAY BE CONTAMINATED WITH NUTS, so they can't eat it anyway. Instead for birthdays I'm forced to bring in nasty store-bought cupcakes with hydrogenated icing instead of my tasty home baking, and it's ruined the bake sales (which — duh — kids with nut allergies couldn't eat anything from anyway, and they still can't). I got into a pitched battle with the administration on this issue about the stuff for classroom parties, etc., but lost.
Okay, off to drink some coumarin before trick or treating. Cheers!
Oh, if the no-baked goods thing is for nut allergies, that is really incredibly dumb since it doesn't increase safety anyway. And know what you mean — without peanut butter, my son would be even skinnier than he already is.
Well, everything is dangerous in high doses. Drinking too much water will kill you, too. This seems to fall under the same heading as the acrylamid scare a few years ago – it is dangerous, and it is important to be aware of it, but as usual, the actual amount of the dangerous products you'd have to consume to run any actual, calculable risk is ridiculous. It was 20 bags of potato crisps a day for a longer period of time with the acrylamid, if I remember right, and on a diet like that you'd be dead long before you'd have time to develop cancer anyway.
And they banned oakmoss, but smoking and alcohol? – no way they'll ban that. I say, if we are capable of making informed decisions about substances like those, we are certainly capable of deciding for ourselves whether we're willing to risk it with coumarin and oakmoss in fragrances.
We are constantly bombarded with ads telling us that everything from erectile dysfunction to restless leg syndrome should be “treated” by some new drug that has side effects including bleeding from the eyes, explosive bowel syndrome and Dutch elm disease, but it's a spritz of Angel that's gonna kill us….
LOL! But you know, anyone that gets Angel banned would do a service to the world. I had to sit next to a woman round a tight table for two hours last week, and she was lousy with Angel. I felt like slipping her a note saying, “Your Angel has killed me”, and then falling sideways off my chair.
I don't know if fragrance chemicals are poisonous or allergenic, but I'm beginning to think they may be addictive and promote obsessive thought and irrational spending!
Maybe should they check Chanel No5 …. another fragrance with a lot of coumarine, a best seller in US for so many years. In a logical way, if they should be believed (:))) Chanel No 5 with high levels of coumarin and a huge exposure to americans during the past 60 years … should be the problem if there is one.
My question is: their issue is Coumarine or Clarins?
Here here — pass me a cigarette & some oakmoss
LOL at Dutch elm disease — and it's so true! The drug ads on TV always crack me up.
It is very true that Angel wearers seem to be particularly unaware of how much sillage they are packing — perhaps because so many of them wear it as a signature and can't smell it any more.
Oh, I think they have it out for Clarins.
The FDA does oversee and regulate cosmetics and fragrances. SO if they did not label as they claim there is cause for them to act.
I went to the website and saw this:
In Vitro Dermal Absorption of Coumarin in Rat and Human Skin: “Coumarin is widely used as a fragrance in cosmetics, perfumes and soaps. Safety concerns have been raised by NTP toxicity testing. Therefore, we measured coumarin absorption and metabolism in skin. … These studies indicate that coumarin absorption is significant in skin. Systemic coumarin absorption must be expected after dermal contact with coumarin-containing products.”
Percutaneous absorption and metabolism of Coumarin in human and rat skin. “These studies indicate that coumarin absorption is significant in skin. Systemic coumarin absorption must be expected after dermal contact with coumarin-containing products.”
I guess that they may have some legal grounds about coumarin.
I went clicking on some of the links and most of the articles are from very reputable publications.
One thing I am wondering did the formula change? As it doesn't smell like patchouli to me anymore anyone else notice that? I don't have any old bottles to check it against.
I forgot to mention I am an RN. We are forbidden to wear fragrances while on duty (ER) as there are patients who come in with status 3 or 4 asthma attacks. As we all know fragrances can cause asthma or asthma like reactions. One of the asthma like reactions is reactive airway disorder and is exacerbated by fragrances.
I try to use fragrance free products for work and save my fragrances for my off duty time. I guess by being in the medical profession I see the reactions to our fragrances.
To elaborate on the peanut posts: Anaphylatic reactions can be life threatening and just the smell of the peanuts in the air will create health issues. They are trying to develop allergen free peanuts to placate everyone, but, until such time, I think we should care about the health of children whether they are our own or anothers.
Has anyone seen the actual petition or just the press release? I would be interested in seeing exactly what grounds they are claiming and if there is by any chance it is valid.
I know we are all upset over this topic, but, we need to see what they found.
I feel sorry for Clarins if they go after this group because then everything will have to be given during the court case. It may not be in Clarins best interests.
Maybe Clarins should just try to buy their silence? Everyone has a price LOL lol
no kidding – plenty of other scents out there with coumarin! I'm wearing L'instant today which has it.
I really didn' know that fragrances on others could cause problems with people who have asthma. That is indeed serious and something to keep in mind.
If the story about dangers of synthesized coumarin in fragrances it is not a rumour but a fact, then it will have enormous consequenses for the perfume industry, at least in the US. Haven't heard about this in Europe but that could always come at a later stadium.
If it is an issue against Clarins only then there must be other problems and who knows what they may be.
I bet that some people will think twice today before they spray on Angel. Let's hope that it is 'a storm in a glass of water' or a 'storm in a bottle' so to speak.
Strictly speaking it is true that the FDA does “regulate” perfume, but not much: they don't require safety testing, nor do they routinely test fragrances themselves, and they have not taken a proactive stance on prohibiting the use of chemicals that might be problematic — in fact, they have prohibited only a few. That is why they want Angel declared a drug, so it will come under stricter FDA regulation.
New to posting here, love this site!
First: about the War Against Peanut…My young cousin brought a homemade brownie to school for snack. The teacher insisted that she tell her if there were nuts in the brownie – she said no b/c she didn't see nuts. The teacher said “some products contain nuts” and persisted. My cousin is ten, she had no idea! The teacher said “Please give me the brownie.” My cousin handed it over and the teacher threw it out!!
Second: On banning perfume. Not to swoop in as a libertarian nut or anything, but shouldn't people be able to wear a perfume, even if it's proven harmful, if they want? The government gets its kicks out of protecting people from themselves, but honestly, are they going to ban everything? Unless they can prove that by wearing a perfume containing tonka beans you're endangering the health of others, they have no argument in my book!
It makes my blood boil when groups like NTEF try to get the government to regulate my life b/c they believe they know better than I do. Bad science mixed with emotional, irrational control freaks doesn't make for an organization I'd support.
…and one more thing. I'm not a wearer of Angel, but if one of my beloved perfumes was scientifically proven to be dangerous to my health it would be a pretty obvious thing to stop wearing it. But, again, the choice should be mine!
Nothing like mixing perfume and politics!
That teacher showed some pretty agressive behaviour!
Must have been in a panick state of mind.
Perfumes definitely are no weapons of mass destruction.
I think the whole problem with all the attacks on fragrances is the health issues that are appearing. As I posted earlier, they do trigger asthma attacks. Therefore, I think they might eventually either ban them or force the manufacturers to implement ingredients that do not create problems for others.
I personally gag when those old ladies walk by and 10 minutes later you can still smell their fragrance.
I agree we have a right to wear them, but, I think if it is proven they do cretae health issues for others, this will eventually turn into a second hand smoke issue.
We have the right to do what we elect to do with our bodies and rightly so. All we can do is wait and see what the feds do. I do not believe they are going to act impulsively but will examine each allegation made and verify to see if the supporting evidence confirms the claims.
I did reread the website and unfortunately have to say, if the balance of the petition is filled with citations such as those previously posted, it's going to be hard to argue regarding independent research that is peer reviewed.
As a medical professional, I know peer reviewed studies are not easy to achieve. There are specific steps that must be completed prior to publication.
The internet is a great resource and the NTEF is a legitimate Nevada corporation for almost 10 years, so at least that is confirmed (found at the Nevada Secretary of State). A google search on the toxicologist shows he is no newbie and is considered an expert witness.
To play devils advocate, I would not expect someone with those credentials to sign off on something that he could not confirm and swear to if required to testify in court. His entire reputation is on the line when he signed on and made those statements in the press release.
It is out of our hands and the FDA will determine if the claims made are valid.
TIme to go and take a shower and enjoy my day off and my perfume.
Gstelz, welcome! And so true about “mixing perfume and politics” — I actually found the original story sort of funny, and had no idea it would generate this many comments.
Personally, I suspect *most* perfume is bad for my health, and probably bad for the environment as well, but I go on wearing it and can offer no justifcation.
I, too, work in a hospital and have seen the negative physical reactions from people who are allergic or sensitive to perfume. Being a perfume fanatic, it *is* difficult to go “scent-less” to work, but I agree that people's health is more important, and that we should be sensitive to that. I myself have had very mild respiratory problems with certain frags.
HOWEVER, the alarmists can – and should – be banned to their scent free world forever!
I want to ban the IFRA people who banned oakmoss to some sort of “world” forever, LOL…
I clicked on the link for COUMARIN and found this definition: A compound that smells like vanilla. Usually derived from the tonka bean (see Tonka bean), but also found in lavender, sweetgrass and other plants. Coumarin is banned as a food additive in the United States due to toxicity issues, but is used to produce anti-coagulant medicines, rat poison, and as a valuable component of incense and perfumes. Why would our government allow a known toxin to be formulated into our cosmetics when they know about dermal absorbtion? This does not make sense. Is this a mistake?
Since when is Oakmoss banned?!?! And why!? Someday truffels will be banned, not that I ever ate one.
Hmmm, did some reading on the internet about banned substances in the perfume industry and it seems te be a big issue. Not only with perfumes but also with soaps, cremes, shampoos, household detergents, air fresheners and many more products that we use on a daily basis. It is scary, it really is. Maybe we ought to be more careful and take this 'Angel story' serious. Have the feeling that more fragrances will be analysed in the near future and actually this is being done for our own wellbeing. It's not about the pure original Oakmoss that we find in the forests but what is extracted from it and combined with other chemicals. Makeup can be an issue too, specially lipstick and mascara and liquid eyeshadows. Goodness I become all silent by this and I still have te clean my house. Let me see what water plus some vinagar can do.
p.s.: mind me, I LOVE fragrances and I will keep enjoying them, but let's not 'shoot the messenger of bad news'. If companies knowingly and willingly put the wrong stuff in their perfumes, then at least we should know about it.
I agree with you, the synthesis of natural flavors into chemcially derived ones is the issue. It seems that the entire fragrances are “bad” issue had started decades ago, when they started using petroleum based flavors.
No one was complaining when perfumes were REAL and VERY few of the health issues that people are experiencing now were present. You have to remember fragrances are a billion dollar a year business and if they can knock it off at 1/2 the price and still charge the same amount they will do it. They get us hooked on a scent and we will gladly pay whatever for it while they substitute in synthetic flavors and increase their profits.
Can any of us REALLY tell if it's REAL or is it “fake” like the memorex commericals years ago. We all are used to our fragrances and tend to not really notice if there is a SLIGHT alteration.
I can not deny that they have Clarins on the hotseat, but, they have a link about some of their other products. I use their eye make up remover and was NOT HAPPY to see that there were chemicals in it that irritated the eyes. I guess it's time to go back to vaseline to take off my eye makeup. What has me SCARED is that some of the stuff on this groups website is backed by references. *I wished I did not know how to read their references*
I asked before and did not get an answer, DID THEY CHANGE MY ANGEL PERFUME FORMULA?
MW, strictly speaking, it is not banned, but only small quantities can be used as it is considered an allergen:
“Oak moss extracts (e.g. absolute, resinoid, concrete, etc.) obtained from Evernia prunastri should not be used such that the level in consumer products exceeds 0.1%.
In the presence of tree moss extracts the level of oak moss has to be reduced accordingly such that the total amount of both extracts does not exceed 0.1% in the final product.”
You might try emailing Thierry Mugler's customer service, perhaps they can tell you if it has been reformulated recently.
My lungs are kind of sensitive and I use Reactine on a daily basis because of the poor airquality here in the very centre of Prague. And yes when I smelled Midnight Poison, after the topnotes it felt as if I couldn't breathe properly when smelling my hand and the thought crossed my mind that if I were in an elevator with only poeple using MP, I probably wouldn' be able to breathe at all! I didn't even think of the word asthma that day. Had a similar experience with Hugo Boss XX, also the middle notes.
Think that baby oil is good to use as eye makeup remover. It's less expensive too.
I still have the 'original Angel version' from the 90's. Only wore it once. Had to have it then. Wouldn't know if I could smell a difference with the socalled newer version and maybe at this side of the Ocean the older version is still being sold?>'< I know that it is a billion dollar business. Maybe therefore I begin to long to more exclusive fragrances. A bit like the ones before the 90's. Could be that Hermes falls in that category? >' Still how exclusive can fragrances be when being massproduced?!
I just found the answer to my own question.
Modern perfumes are almost exclusively made from synthetic odorants that are commonly synthesized from coal-tar and petroleum distillates, pine resins, or other relatively cheap organic feedstock. Synthetics can provide fragrances which are not found in nature. For instance, Calone, a compound of synthetic origin, imparts a fresh ozonous metallic marine scent that is widely used in contemporary perfumes. Synthetic aromatics are often used as an alternate source of compounds that are not easily obtained from natural sources. For example, linalool and coumarin are both naturally occurring compounds that can be cheaply synthesized from terpenes. Orchid scents (typically salicylates) are usually not obtained directly from the plant itself but are instead synthetically created to match the fragrant compounds found in various orchids.
The majority of the world's synthetic aromatics are created by relatively few companies. They include:
International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF)
Each of these companies patents several processes for the production of aromatic synthetics annually.
See Aroma compound
That explaines how some fragrances are a bit more exclusive than others and why some of them are really more expensive.
With that in mind still realizing that many fragrances are way overprized.
Hmm, Hermes' Kelly Caleche will be in my posession one of these days.
I'll go and have a sniff at the Angel counter when I get an opportunity. My bottle is several years old, and smells the same as my first mid-90's bottle (yup, I've gone through a bottle and a half of Angel – I loved it so much in my late teens and early twenties); if it's been reformulated it must have been pretty recently. I smell it on people all the time, and I don't get nearly as much patchouli on others nowadays as I get on my own skin, but I've written it down to skin chemistry, or assumed that they were wearing Angel Innocent, some other one of the less patch-heavy flankers or a dupe. I think I will be sad if they really have toned down the earthy, dirty base; that's what makes Angel interesting.
On a side note, I don't enjoy Angel nearly as much since they banned smoking in bars, clubs and restaurants here some years ago – it was my going out fragrance, and somehow I liked it better blended with cigarette smoke.
How interesting! I wonder if there are other fragrances that have lost that association.
Coumarin was banned as a food additive in the United States in 1978.
I don't know about you, but I'm not about to drink Angel.
Coumarin can also be found in cassia bark, one of the types of cinnamon. Something to think about as Christmas baking season draws near…
I have just discovered this blog and decided that the salient facts need to be both addressed and corrected.
I am the President of the organization that submitted the petition regarding Angel Parfum.
In reading the entries it is apparent that the posters have been seriously conned by Madison Avenue and the fragrance industry regarding both the safety and testing of fragrances.
The intentional omission of all the ingredients used in each mixture is an overt attempt to hide the hazardous chemical compounds utilized to manufacture the “scent” that they provide to the consumer. Additionally, the epidermis allows these chemicals to be fully absorbed into the body and permeate every cell in the body via the vascular system.
The utilization of over 5000 chemicals used in fragrances, where a preponderance of these have not been tested for safety by the fragrance industry. These chemicals do act upon the brain in an addictive mechanism, where you will often hear people say, “Oh, I can’t go out without my fragrance, I need it”. There is scientific confirmation of this effect. It is not unusual for people who wear fragrances to complain that certain ones give them a headache/migraine. This is because the olfactory cells in the nasal mucosa are a direct connection to the brain and have a direct impact upon the brain.
There is a medical phenomenon known as “olfactory fatigue”. This is where the olfactory cells become sensitized and they can no longer perceive the smell at low levels. A prime example is of a worker at a sewerage plant. These people no longer notice the odor while people who enter the facility are immediately taken back by the odor. People who wear a certain fragrance become so sensitized that they apply copious amounts so that they can notice it and in doing so, actually are overpowering those around them.
Clarins has lied to the buying public for decades. They only reference the MINIMAL amounts of botanicals that they use and intentionally downplay the preponderance of known health related chemicals in the balance of the mixture. Their labels give the illusion of natural and botanically based, by only referencing those that they want the public to know about.
The petition against Angel Parfum is highly documented with the facts, science, laboratory reports and fully referencing and citing the intentional violations of both national and importation rules and regulations.
So before you are quick to jump on the bandwagon supporting the poison purveyors you need to read the petition then ask the question “Why were these health risks not disclosed to us on the label”?
Petition can be read in its entirety at http://www.ntef-usa.org.
This petition is the first of many in various stages of development to the FDA referencing the misrepresentations to the end use consumer.
I will personally address your concerns via email, but, will not get into nor respond to histrionics on your right to inflict harm upon those who have life threatening disabilities such as asthma, under the guise of your right to wear fragrances. Your right to wear a product that will cause a person to suffer a major health consequence is not acceptable and will not be given any consideration. No one would ever pull the cane from a blind person and cause their safety to maneuver in public to become an issue. The use of these toxic products around those who have asthma is the same analogy.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'm curious why you've targeted Clarins — they aren't the only company using “hazardous chemical compounds”, are they?