Tuesday, January 26, 2010

According to IFRA, you can't read or understand this post

The Scented Salamander features an interview with Stephen Weller, Director of Communications for IFRA. You can read the whole thing here and do some headdesking. Marie-Helene Wagner asked the million dollar question:
Could you explain to us why IFRA and the perfume industry have set their preferences on perfume reformulation rather than warning labels as in the food industry? If we take inspiration from the pharmaceutical industry, why not deliver perfumes with allergenic ingredients in a controlled manner, again with warnings and perhaps even prescriptions? Fragrances are routinely sold in pharmacies. One would just need a step-up of this circuit of distribution.
Here's the bottom line of the answer:
This is one approach to help inform the consumer to make a choice. However, not all consumers read labels or indeed understand the information on the label. Therefore, IFRA Standards are needed to help reduce the incidents of sensitisation to certain materials. Experience shows that labelling alone does not have the desired effect.

I don't know about you, but reading this makes me incredibly angry. I need a stiff drink. Maybe absinthe laced with oakmoss.


  1. Your drinking comment is PRICELESS!! THANK YOU for venting our thoughts so very well! :-) hotlanta linda

  2. Since their experience shows that they know best, they've taken it upon themselves to protect us from ourselves. Presumptuous of them.

  3. That is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. People with life-threatening allergies to peanuts seem to have no difficulty reading labels. Feh.

  4. Artists can buy paints full of lead, cadnium, manganese and cobalt. They can also buy synthetic substitutes which don't perform as well. The "real" pigments have prominent warning labels. I suppose this means that the art supply industry thinks that painters are grown-ups capable of making decisions. Apparently, the regulators don't give wearers of perfume the same credit. Interesting, eh?

  5. I agree with you Gaia. Nothing sets of my angry switch like being patronised.

  6. I don't think that merely being labeled as stupid and insulting is enough to protect people from these sorts of comments. Therefore I think that this person should be banned from speaking. Ever.

    All for the public good, mind you.

  7. this is funny and interesting, good to know

  8. I'm so glad I had already had a drink before reading that!! How utterly patronizing.

    I am reading a can of hairspray I have. It says and I quote "Inhaling Contents Can Be Harmful Or Fatal"

    I think I understand that pretty well.

    His justification that they need to protect consumers from themselves is a load of crap.

    JMHO of course ;-)


  9. But this is EXACTLY what happens when the "powers that be" decide that the general public are idiots. They take away our right to decide! I guess it's the same idea as having to print on a plastic bag that you shouldn't put it on your head or letting us know you shouldn't drink Draino. It may be true that there are plenty of people who don't read the labels, but to me, if you don't then I'm not gonna feel bad when that evil oakmoss gives you a rash. Just don't take it away from me!!!

  10. I sleep much more soundly at night knowing that there is a militaristic dictatorship watching out for me because of my illiteracy. My life is now safe from potential skin rashes. I no longer need to worry about my own health or understand my unique requirements as someone who may have an allergy to some common perfume ingredients.

    Never mind the fact that I, an apparent illiterate dumb a**, cannot read warning labels on things like bleach or anti-freeze...it's the fragrances that I spray on my skin which pose the greatest health risk!

    Again: Thanks IFRA for being the Big Brother I never had. It's good to know someone's got my back, bro.

    Also, something to think about: My mom gets a headache and sneezes at just about every fragrance I apply; she is very sensitive to smells. The IFRA should really consider this during their regulatory meetings - some people are allergic to SMELLS, so they should try to make perfumes "fragrance free" to ensure those folks don't have any reactions to perfumes.

    Oh wait, you say there is a flaw in my logic?

    Allow me to go drown myself in a pool of my bitter sarcasm.

  11. Is there a consumer group representing perfume consumers? We should start one, definitely!

    Also, who are these people with allergies?! I've never met one, and forgive me if I point a shaking finger at Americans (and their allergies).


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