Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thoughts about IFRA and skin allergies

Moving house means vacating one place and taking possession of another. A process that includes cleaning. Lots and lots of cleaning. While I had ample help in both locations, I still had to use an impressive amount of various detergents, with and without rubber gloves. And when I say "detergents", I mean the real thing, not the wimpy yuppie stuff. While I love the environment, what I love even more is a shower with no cooties. So I saved the Caldrea and Mrs. Meyer's bottles for the final round in the new house, and put the Clorox, Tilex and every other X-ending substance to good use.

Within 2 hours I had an angry looking red rash on both wrists. The same wrists that have been sprayed countless of times with perfumes containing oakmoss, tree moss, balsam peru, jasmine absolute, natural citrus oil, damascone and other now-restricted or banned materials. I never had an allergic reaction to perfume, but the household cleaners made me want to crawl out of my skin.

Yet, there are no restrictions on Clorox and its ilk, no lobby fighting to ban the use of tub and tile detergents and I'm pretty sure even the city of Halifax allows its residents to scrub their kitchens. No well-meaning bureaucrat has decided to make bathrooms safer for people who can't read a label saying "if a rash develops, discontinue use" and take down an entire industry while doing it.

Funny, isn't it?


  1. Hear, hear! We all know what the real deal is.

    An acquaintence of mine runs a housecleaning service. She's always ill from all the househould chemicals. However, no one seems to be banning them.

  2. Random thoughts: I'm going to have to go to the website to read the reports. How do "they" know that perfume ingredients are allergens? Do they drop oakmoss on shaved animals, straight oakmoss, and see the reaction? Plus, are they experimenting on animals or humans? And who drops pure oakmoss onto their skin? If it's humans, are the test subjects free of other chemicals? soap, fabric softener, hair products, laundry detergent...most all have "perfumes" right?

  3. BLESS YOU!! try some of Kiehl`s salve for your wounds - I wish you quick recovery!! :-)

  4. Yeah! Bravo! Excellent point.

  5. My point exactly! I have been saying all along - follow the money and you will discover the real motive behind the IFRA rulings. Just sayin'.

    We also let people buy alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals, and people die by the thousands each year from their misuse (you could argue that tobacco has no actual proper use, at least after ignition). All of these are legal, with warning labels.

  6. Dear Gaia,
    Love your blog - Enjoying it more and more -
    Anyway, couldn't agree with you more .
    Seriously, the IFRA regulations 2010 will destroy or at least handicap an entire industry . Perfumery - is a art as such like great works of music, painting , sculpture, opera, Household cleaners - the real deal are full of toxins .
    I don't understand why yhe regs..
    But I wish we could all band tofgether to do something to stop them.
    I am a classics girl, Joy, Patou 1,000, Chanels 5, 22 Bois Des iles etc, Diorissimo, Miss Dior and on and on... We need to take action- thanks for your thought provoking essay


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