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Beware of Fragrant But Toxic Valentine’s Day Gifts

Toxic fragrances

(EcoWaste Coalition Raises Red Flag Over “Reprotoxic” Chemical in Perfumes)

14 February 2023, Quezon City. As Valentine’s Day is celebrated, the toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition red flagged the presence of butylphenyl methylpropional, a “reprotoxic” chemical in some commercial fragrances being sold in the market.

“Reprotoxic” refers to a chemical that is toxic to reproduction, posing a serious threat to the fertility of both women and men and causing harm to the reproductive process, including fetal development.

“Some perfumes, which are among the most popular gifts for Valentine’s Day, may contain chemical ingredients that are classified as ‘reprotoxic’ and should not be purchased and used,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition. “Consumers should read product labels carefully and steer clear of fragrances with ingredients that can affect fertility and the fetus during pregnancy.”

In the market monitoring it conducted on February 13, the group found 32 fragrances with butylphenyl methylpropional listed as an ingredient. Also known as BMHCA or lilial, butylphenyl methylpropional is used to give a floral note to a fragrance mixture.

The 32 fragrances, which are mostly “class A imitation products,” are sold for as low as P50 to as high as P3,700 per bottle at cosmetic and perfume stores located at 11/88, 168, 999 and Divisoria Shopping Malls in Binondo, Manila.

Toxic Gifts

The European Union (EU) has classified butylphenyl methylpropional as “reprotoxic” and consequently banned its use as an ingredient in cosmetics such as fragrances effective March 1, 2022. Cosmetics containing butylphenyl methylpropional cannot be placed on the EU market and must be taken off the shelves if already on the market.

Governments in Europe, particularly Czechia, Italy, Lithuania and Sweden, have taken action against at least 70 fragrances containing butylphenyl methylpropional, banning their marketing, recalling products from end users or rejecting imports at the border.

According to the notifications posted at Safety Gate (the EU’s rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products) “butylphenyl methylpropional may harm the reproductive system, may harm the health of the unborn child and may cause skin sensitization.”

While forbidden in the EU, fragrances listing butylphenyl methylpropional as an ingredient are widely available in the local market as confirmed by the EcoWaste Coalition‘s monitoring work.

Toxic fragrances

Among the fragrances for women containing butylphenyl methylpropional are Daisy/Mary Jacobs (two variants), Dolce & Gabbana, Eclat D’Arpege/Lanvin, Femme/Hugo Boss, Hidden Fantasy Britney Spears, Midnight Fantasy Britney Spears, Sunset Fantasy Britney Spears, Miracle, Omnia/Bulgari, , Tendre Poison/Dior, Tommy Girl/Tommy Hilfiger (two variants), Twilly/Hermes, Versace Bright Crystal Absolu, and Victoria’s Secret (six variants: Bombshell New York, Bombshell Paradise, Dream Angel, Hardcore Rose, Intense, and Just a Kiss ).

Butylphenyl methylpropional is also listed as ingredient in the following fragrances for men: Acqua di Gio/Giorgio Armani, Adidas Dynamic Pulse, Allure/Chanel, Bleu/Chanel, Boss/Hugo Boss, Clinique Happy, David Beckham Instinct, Deep in Blue Intense/Lovali, Ferrari Black, Mustang Sport/Erica Taylor, and Tommy/Tommy Hilfiger.

Other consumer products that may contain butylphenyl methylpropional include deodorants, shaving creams, shampoos, conditioners, household cleaners and laundry products such as detergents and fabric softeners.



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EcoWaste Coalition
Let's make an eco-friendly, zero waste, and toxic-free Philippines a reality.