Saturday, May 19, 2012

PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES DO NOT WEAR PERFUME: An Open Letter to the IFRA




Esteemed members of the International Fragrance Association, I come to you today with an urgent matter requiring your immediate attention, if the death of perfumery is to be averted before it is too late. I shall detail the crimes being committed by certain parties who have been insidiously laboring heretofore undetected in your midst, in an ever-more zealous effort to hasten the demise of perfumery, but first I need to provide you with a bit of context. Please indulge me briefly as I relay a recent anecdote from my life which bears on the question at hand:

I called my mother last Sunday to wish her well on the holiday, and one of the topics which came up was this blog. She said, “I've enjoyed reading your pieces, but I can't wear perfume because of allergies.”

What? Allergies? What allergies? She is allergic to what, precisely, in perfume? Could it be geraniol, limonene, linalool, cinnamal, citral, citronellol, hexyl cinnamal, farnesol, coumarin, benzyl alcohol, benzyl benzoate, eugenol, geraniol, isoeugenol, benzophenone, benzyl salicylate, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, ethylhexyl salicylate, methyl paraben, propylene glycol, methylpropional, alpha-isomethyl ionone, amyl cinnamal, cinnamyl alcohol, butylphenyl methylpropional, hydroxycitronellal, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, alpha-isomethyl ionone? Or is it, perhaps, the dreaded and feared evernia prunastri, better known as oak moss?

I rather doubt that it is the latter, given that it has figured in relatively few perfumes—and fewer still today, thanks to restrictions imposed by the IFRA. Who knows what precisely in “perfume”—not this perfume or that perfume, but Perfume in general—my mother cannot tolerate, but it is obviously in enough different perfumes, or at least every perfume she ever tried, which is why she claims today to be allergic to “perfume” and therefore does not wear it at all.

What an eye-opener that was! For years I have wondered—but never asked—why there was next to no perfume in my house while I was growing up. I recall vaguely that there was a bottle of Revlon Charlie (not coincidentally my father's name) on my mother's dresser, and a bottle of Old Spice sitting on the back of the toilet in my parents' bathroom. Apparently it was used on occasion for air freshening purposes. Both of these bottles, my mother informed me this past Mother's Day, were gifts from my grandmother (my dad's mom). Were it not for those gifts, our house would have been entirely perfume-free.


How, then, to explain me? I'm sure that my parents have often scratched their heads, puzzling over precisely how far fruit really can fall from the tree, but my current perfume obsession does seem extreme in the light of such historical revelations. Or does it? Perhaps I am but a rebellious child who never grew up, fighting to resist the values of my parents at every turn.

It is true, I openly aver, that I nearly never practiced the piano until the lessons provided for me by my parents came to an end. (My teachers somehow never noticed...) Only later, free at last to choose to tickle the ivories did I discover the profound pleasure of playing music.

Nonetheless, I do not believe that my mildly obstinate and contrarian nature suffice to explain my current perfume craze, because I left home long, long ago, and get along quite well with both of my parents today. No, I do not think that it is mere perversity which draws me both to perfume and to music, while neither of my parents finds these things to be nearly so important and even less do they find them to be necessary components of a happy life.

Both are remarried to spouses who, too, wear no perfume, at least as far as I am aware. One thing is clear: perfume is not a part of these people's culture. Nor that of most of the people whom I have ever met. Nor that of most of the people in the world. Only in our virtual fragrance communities have I discovered the likes of me: people who love and cherish perfumes as dear friends. People who delight in discovering new elixirs and may even cry upon learning that a beloved friend has died (been discontinued or, what is often worse, lobotomized). Meanwhile, most of the people in the world, and most of the people I know, including my parents and siblings, and my colleagues past and present, live in universes not structured by perfume.





It's not just that perfume is the last thing that they think about spending their hard-earned money on. No, perfume is not even on the list. I, in contrast, spend more money on perfume than on anything else, and if the truth be told, on occasion I find myself shuddering at the thought of the explosion that would ensue should an errant spark somehow be generated in my humble abode, setting the entire place ablaze in a conflagration of perfume flames beyond the means of even the keenest team of fire fighters to contain. But I digress...


Avid perfumistas may lament that for so many years I should have been so very deprived, but I did not mind. The truth, my friends, is that I did not notice at all. I was like a  colorblind child, with no access to color but entirely unaware of what I missed. My world contained no red or green, and so, to me, it simply did not exist. To this day, I have not the slightest idea what either Old Spice or Revlon Charlie smells like.

I retain, in fact, only two other memories of perfume from that period of my life. One is of a girlfriend of mine who had a big, bright yellow plastic bottle of Jean Naté, which seemed to me to be somehow too racy for her age—as though she was a teenage pregnancy waiting to happen. I also thought at the time, believe it or not, that her very use of such a product evidenced a type of dirtiness needing to be masked. I never even brought myself to sniff the stuff, that's how little interest I had in that big yellow plastic bottle filled with juice sourced from a vat.
My other childhood fragrance memories are of two blonde sisters who, precociously, were members of a make-up club which sometimes sent them small glass bottles of brown stinky perfume. It was really nothing that I had any desire to meddle in, and so for years, not only did I not feel deprived, but I seem to have been quite happy to be perfume-free.

My own personal history of perfume did not begin until my freshman year in college, when suddenly my sight was restored. But that's another story...


Let us now, with this background in mind, return to the matter at hand: the existence of people with allergies. These people are bothered by perfume, which is why they do not wear it. They do not seek out perfumes devoid of eugenol or coumarin or one of the hundreds, even thousands, of other possible ingredients which may appear on the box of a randomly selected perfume or be contained within the mystery ingredient parfum. They do not, let us be precise, go out of their way to evade evernia prunastri.

No, they avoid perfume tout court, en bloc, because, far from deriving pleasure from wearing it, they find it a source of distress. And I understand and agree that a perfume with which one is physiologically incompatible—the kind that makes me feel like Alex in Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film A Clockwork Orange as Beethoven's Ninth symphony is pumped into his flat, an experience I have on occasion felt upon donning a perfume produced in a giant vat—is simply unbearable to wear. Better to avoid even risking the chance of feeling that extraordinarily unpleasant sensation than to make the mistake of donning it again.

My question for you—and eventually where this is all leading will become clear—O Illustrious Members of the International Fragrance Association, is this: Whom, exactly, do you purport to be helping by imposing restrictions on the use of certain ingredients in perfumes? And are you in fact helping more people than you hurt?

It should be clear from the case of my mother, and the many other people in existence like her, that people with allergies to components of perfume severe enough to make perfume an unpleasant experience in general, choose, reasonably enough, not to wear perfume. Furthermore, they tend to marry and live with people who also do not wear perfume.

I wonder, then, what all of these new restrictions are really about? I wonder, first, because so many people in the world wear no perfume at all. But I also wonder as I have begun to notice the proliferation of these three tiny letters on the boxes of more and more perfumes in recent times:


BHT


BHT stands for butylated hydroxytoluene, and it contains, logically enough, toluene, which features, for those who never experienced the joy of organic chemistry, the benzene ring:

Benzene is a known carcinogen, and toluene was identified in 1993 as a toxic air contaminant. This is part of the reason why the use of BHT as a preservative is fraught with such controversy. Not only is BHT used in foodstuffs, and in the lining of food packaging, it is also used as a preservative in cosmetic and skin products, including, with greater and greater frequency, perfume.

Now, we all know that Guerlain perfumes have been reformulated. Both of my bottles of mangled Mitsouko (produced in the twenty-first century) contain not evernia prunastri but evernia furfuracea, and who knows what other substitutions were also made along the way. The only thing that noses know for sure is that Mitsouko is no longer the same. But perfumes have not only been reformulated to remove restricted ingredients such as oakmoss. They appear to contain new ingredients as well.

As far as I can tell, based on the bottles in my collection, Guerlain perfumes did not, in the twentieth century, contain BHT. Over the past few years, every single Guerlain box I've bought has borne those letters, even formulas claimed to be unchanged, as in the case of Eau de Cologne Impériale, created by Pierre François Pascal Guerlain in 1853 for Empress Eugénie, the wife of Napoléon III. The ingredients listed on my box are these:

Alcohol, parfum (fragrance), limonene, aqua (water), linalool, citral, geraniol, farnesol, BHT, citronellol

It cannot be the case that the bottle of this cologne which I purchased recently contains the same cologne that was worn by Empress Eugénie. Why? Because BHT is listed among the ingredients on my box, and BHT was first used as a preservative in 1954. QED

BHT, a preservative the safety of which is wildly disputed far beyond the perimeters of the world of perfume proper, made the cut, but oakmoss did not? There's something very fishy going on, and I'm not talking only about Thierry Mugler Womanity, which, incidentally, happens also to contain BHT. What can all of this mean? you may well be wondering, as I myself have been pondering for quite some time. I ask now for your patience and indulgence once again while I sketch out what has emerged as the best explanation of the phenomena before us and, therefore, one may reasonably infer, is also the truth.

Some perfumistas have speculated—consistent with the reigning paradigm according to which multi-conglomerate corporations are gobbling up smaller houses and laying waste to former masterpieces left and right—that all of this is being done in a crass effort to improve their bottom line. Procter & Gamble, having acquired the house of Rochas, subsequently opted to end it for all time. That's right, it's not just that the perfumes of the house of Rochas have undergone in some cases criminal reformulation. No, they are to be entirely removed from the face of the planet, having failed to pull their weight under the yoke of their multi-conglomerate corporate master.

Many people are now aware that Coty has absorbed many formerly independent houses, including Calvin Klein, Cerruti, Marc Jacobs, Jil Sander, Roberto Cavalli, Guess, Balenciaga, Chôpard, Davidoff, Philosophy, Chloé, Lancaster, Karl Lagerfeld, Vera Wang, Stetson, Vivienne Westwood, and others.

LVMH (Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton), for its part, has taken over not only Christian Dior but also the once-illustrious house of Guerlain, among many other less notable but still important acquisitions, including Givenchy, Kenzo, Acqua di Parma, Fresh, Fendi, and Emilio Pucci.

The Estée Lauder Group now controls not only Estée Lauder but also Clinique, Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Jo Malone, Michael Kors, Missoni, Tom Ford, and Coach, among many other houses.

Procter & Gamble, too, continues to swallow up new houses—Gucci, Anna Sui, Dolce & Gabbana, Hugo Boss, et al.—even as they have forsaken some of their former “protégées”.

 Let us now pause for a moment of silence to mourn the death of the house of Rochas.

  










I do not deny that the “evil mega-corporation hypothesis” holds much appeal and is indeed quite plausible in this particular case. It explains an awful lot, no doubt, and it may seem that we can blame the corporations, too, for pretending to reformulate in accordance with the IFRA rules, using that as their pretext, when in fact they are implementing much more drastic changes in order to make their wares more profitable.

The problem with this hypothesis, I am afraid, is that it does not explain all of the data at hand. If the reason why people wear perfume is because it is beautiful and does not cause them physiological distress, then adding highly controversial ingredients such as BHT is likely to decrease the number of sales, and especially as public awareness grows over the use of such substances in perfumes, which are applied directly to the skin, the largest organ of the human body. So what is really going on here?

My friends at the IFRA, I regret to inform you that my considered view on this matter is that your ranks have been infiltrated by members of the Anti-Perfume Crusade currently attempting to call a halt to the use of all perfume. You are no doubt aware that there are people alive today writing on the world wide web in vivid, emotional, and even litigious terms, demanding that the use of perfume be outlawed in all public places and open spaces. They compare perfume to second-hand smoke and decry the discomfort, health hazard, and even pain which they are forced to endure at the hands of egocentric perfume wearers who pay no heed to the consequences of their actions for other human beings.

These anti-perfume activists exist, and their numbers appear to be on the rise. Why, then, are perfumes being dumbed down, emasculated, rendered muzak versions of what once were masterful classics? The answer, I think, is plain: the more IFRA restrictions are imposed upon perfumers, the less appealing perfumes will become. At the limit, there will be only vat-produced synthetic juice which no one wants to wear. And that, my friends, is the ultimate objective of the Anti-Perfume Crusade (APC): to so compromise the ability of perfumers to produce true masterpieces, that all of the genuine artists flee to another realm, leaving behind only hacks and industrial chemists who take and obey orders from accountants who spend the best hours of their days poring over ledger lines.

At the end of this ugly process, perfume will have been pommeled down to a product of personal hygiene alone. People will reach for it only out of necessity, to cover bad smells, and most of the people on the planet will arrive at the view shared by my parents and perfume haters everywhere, that clean people do not need perfume.

Perfume will cease to be viewed as an art form by anyone. Everyone, former perfumers and perfumistas alike, will move on to other means of achieving aesthetic satisfaction. If this insidious scheme is not thwarted soon, the Anti-Perfume Crusade (APC) will have won, and the world will be much less than it once was, having begun to chart the path to the elevation of perfume as an art but then stopped in its tracks by perfume haters currently masquerading as benevolent environmental health advocates and working in your offices at the present time under assumed names.

I humbly entreat you, therefore, dear members of the IFRA, immediately to cease and desist from imposing restrictions on the world of perfumery having at last seen through this clever ruse. All restrictions over the use of ingredients which were worn for centuries in perfumes by people who lived normal, healthy life spans enriched by transcendent olfactory experiences should be lifted posthaste.

Yes, these tricksters have attempted with some success to convince you that the restrictions are helping the general public. In reality, however, as the cases of my mother and father and their spouses reveal, people with allergies do not wear perfume, and nothing could be clearer than that your restrictions are being used as a pretext and an excuse to reformulate classic perfumes with devastating effect to perfume lovers, all in an underhanded effort to render  perfume banal to the point where no one wants to wear it anymore. 

Speaking on behalf of perfumistas, perfumers, and true perfume lovers everywhere, I thank you in advance for your swift attention to this matter.

Sincerely,


sherapop

23 comments:

  1. This is beautifully stated! And everyone who loves perfume as we do should read it! Thank you so much for stating what really, truly, needs to be said!

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, tarleisio!

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  2. Amazing piece. Could not agree more, thank you for bringing your voice! Sharing!

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    1. Wonderful to see you here, Chrisma! By the way, the observations about allergies at your website are very interesting...and they make me wish that my mother had had access to natural perfumes...

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  3. Thank you for this writing this ... Let's keep art in the art of perfumery...

    I love being a natural niche perfumer and creating fragrances that are a joy to wear...

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    1. And we perfumistas love that you are a natural niche perfumer who creates fragrances that are a joy to wear! (-;

      Thank you for stopping by, JoAnne!

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  4. thanks on behalf of perfume art lovers, and oakmoss fanatics like myself who believe perfumery should remain a respected and enchanting art form, and not a shallow means of lining pockets only. -yourfoxiness.

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    1. You are most welcome, yourfoxiness! I agree: oakmoss is a wonderful thing!

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  5. You have made your (and our) point eloquently and forcefully as always. What saddens me is the idea behind perfume restrictions: making the world a safer place to live! Eliminating the dangers of natural ingredients. Nature equals danger. Chemistry is your friend and protector. Genetically manipulated food is good, natural seeds are inefficient. Bugs are bad. Vaccines are good. And the list goes on and on. Suddenly the same world where generations of humans have lived and prospered is a dangerous place to live and it needs to be made safe through regulations. Perfume is disease and its public use needs to be regulated. And People in higher offices know how this world can be made safe for you again. Enough! Life isn't safe to begin with!

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    1. Thank you so much, Christos! You have raised such an important question: do we need to be protected from ourselves? What's interesting to me is the complete and utter arbitrariness of the protections paternalistically "provided" to (imposed upon...) us.

      Many non-natural deaths are caused by automobile accidents. Why not, then, outlaw cars? Many automobile accidents are caused by drunk drivers. Why not, then, outlaw alcohol? The list goes on and on, and the areas in which we are “protected” seem quite arbitrary.

      Drug laws are another excellent example: we are allowed to kill ourselves via alcohol but not via other drugs, unless of course they are prescribed by physicians, even though some of the many drugs now liberally prescribed (something like 15% of people in the United States are now on “meds” for psychological conditions???) are known to increase suicidal and other violent tendencies. In fact, I recently read that prescription medications are now the number one cause of non-natural deaths in some parts of the U.S., for example, San Diego county. It's all a big incoherent mess!

      Or is there a method behind all of this apparent madness? Does it all come down to money, in the end? Girasole suggests as much (and quite persuasively), in her comment below...

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  6. Hi Sherapop, thanks for the information: it's always good to know which horse runs for which stable, i.e which brand belongs to which group.
    Maybe I got this wrong, but I always thought that the IFRA was a committee of the industry. Its findings are recommendations, not laws. No house is obliged to follow them. And no house is obliged to be a member of it. Strangely enough, nearly 90% of all perfume producers are members of the IFRA. Thus my hypothesis is rather that: When perfume producers put the blame on the IFRA to explain why the classic is not the classic anymore it's really marketing blabla what's going on. (And some houses continue to sell the "original frag" in exclusive boutiques in Paris and the "reformulated frag" outside these boutiques. At least rumor has it:)) To my understanding the IFRA are the perfume houses. Frags are business. No writer would sell his novel exclusively in one store and sell something else that has only the title in common with his novel in the rest of the world. No publishing house would ever dream of doing this. Art?
    Girasole

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    1. Dear Girasole,

      I am so glad that you arrived on the scene to raise these incisive questions, some of which have been percolating in my mind in an inchoate way for quite some time. The perspective conveyed above reflects the general view that perfumers are being coerced to comply with the IFRA rules, which I do believe is true, based on an interview I read in which Calice Becker indicated that IFRA-sanctioned possibilities are excluded at the outset from her options in composing a new perfume. Apparently it's built into a computer program she and other perfumers use. This certainly suggests that perfumers are constrained in their creativity by the new rules—at least if they work for certain companies.

      Your question is: who, after all, came up with these rules? And is it not highly misleading for Guerlain, for example, to claim that they “must” adhere to the rules when, in fact, they are a part of the coalition that put forth the rules in the first place? It does seem very deceptive, now that you mention it, and I think that your point gives quite a bit more weight to the “evil corporate conglomerate” hypothesis.

      I have often wondered what the force of the rules is supposed to be over niche houses, for example. Calice Becker may work for big corporatized houses which require her to comply with the standards, but what about someone like Andy Tauer? What exactly is going to happen to him if he dares to produce an oakmoss-rich perfume? Will he be shunned by the industry? And what does that mean? Will he be blacklisted and not allowed to work for LVMH? And should he care, if he has no desire to do such a thing anyway?

      I think that I need to go on a fact-finding mission to try to determine what the force of these restrictions is supposed to be. It's clear that “consultant” perfumers, who work for big corporations are laboring under the rules. But about niche perfumers? Perhaps Christi or JoAnne or some other perfumer can weigh in here to clarify exactly how the rules affect small niche houses.

      Thank you very much, Girasole, for sharing the fruits of your searching intellect once again!

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  7. You make extremely valid points.
    Just now I cited your blog article and partially quoted it, when someone expressed interest in fragrances and then said "...., but I'm allergic to all things perfume!".
    That raises the question: would people with allergies who like perfume, not vastly prefer to find out WHAT they are allergic to , rather than see everything even remotely allergenic taken out of fragrances? And vice versa, those that have given up because of extreme allergy won't give a rat's a$$ either because they avoid every fragrance!

    As someone who has to write allergy labels all the time, I'm all in favour of informing the audience and let THEM decide! After all, e.g. we are also not banning milk! Milk allergy is about the most common allergy in existance!

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    1. Hello, anonymous, and thanks so much for your remarks.

      Your example of milk allergy is excellent. Another one is allergy to wheat gluten (which my stepfather has): people with this allergy become violently ill--and can even die--when they ingest even a tiny amount of the stuff. As a result, they are naturally quite vigilant about what they eat and do not assume anything: they ask first before taking a bite out of even foods which seem as though they should be wheat-free.

      One of my sisters illustrates another important point: allergies often come bundled. She is allergic to nearly everything that makes life worth living: all berries, all fish and seafood, all grasses and pollens, and many other plants as well. Obviously these items are ubiquitous, but she knows what she needs to do in order to avoid suffering an allergic reaction. (She is so allergic to seafood, that she cannot even sit next to someone eating a lobster!)

      This brings us back to Christo's point: we are all adults and are quite accustomed to taking care of ourselves!

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope to read you here again!

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  8. I'm with Christos on this.

    In this increasingly "green" age, what other industry can you think of which claims to be protecting our precious and sacred bodies by taking out natural ingredients and replacing them with man-made chemicals ?

    And do we hear much about how, and on what cuddly organisms they test these new chemicals for safety ? Another area that doesn't exactly engage the public's sympathy these days.

    Not sure who in their organization visualizes this as an increasingly good strategy for keeping up with evolving societal values, but you really have to wonder.

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    1. Thanks so much, Bob. These are all trenchant points. Yes, it's very, very odd that as the people of the world become more eco-conscious, these companies are moving in the opposite direction.

      Your final question is basically the point of my post, which started as a satire, but by the time I finished it, I realized that the insurrectionist APC infiltration is actually plausible! (-;

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  9. It definitely all about money. In reality genetically modified plants are not just better equipped to tolerate disease and parasite (I haven't seen much independent research to prove this actually) but are modified with mostly two objectives:
    1. Keep for longer unrefrigerated. The most common way to do this is the introduction of genes from other organisms like insects that keep the natural procees of maturing and rotting from happening. In the early nineties for some reason I started not being able to tolerate any raw vegetable or fruit, especially tomatoes. I would be very interested to know when the process of modiying vegetable genetically actually happened.
    2. Are completely steriles so they cannot reproduce in nature. We have all read the news reports on rice farmers in India who were convinced to switch to genetically emgineered crop only to realize that the seeds were barren and they had to buy seeds every year form the companies.

    It's all about the money.

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    1. Yes, Christos, it does seem to be someone's myopic strategy to maximize profit. But maybe it's not totally self-undermining--I mean to the corporations themselves.

      Part of the scheme seems to be to condition the vast majority of consumers to think of perfume in a certain way. The "clean" movement, for example, seems to be changing the average consumer's concept of perfume. Who knew that the fragrances of shampoo and conditioner and dryer sheets and household cleaning products were really perfumes?

      Well, no one, until P&G launched some of them in their Anthology series, and many other companies followed suit. Some of the Emilio Pucci Vivara Variazioni fall into this category, for example. And of course it goes without saying that much of the house of Clean's line-up fit into this group as well.

      In the near future, I'll be posting a review of a documentary about the wine industry, "Mondovino," which reveals some of the same trends and effects, above all, the shaping of consumers' preferences...

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts once again, Christos!

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  10. Hi, nothing will happen to perfumers who put oakmoss into their perfumes. The only sanction there is when perfumers do it is that they get badmouthed by competitors who don't. Now Tauer as a company is too small and a too unknown to mess around with. But a big name? Then you get bad press ecc ecc.

    Yes there's a lot of deception going on. And I always have to laugh when people tell me: Oh I'd do it but the computer won't let me. This is a (pardon me) silly excuse. The person you quoted above sounds like an uninspired office worker to me.

    See how far away we are from art? Some paints are really dangerous for the health. Have you seen any restrictions on colors that painters use? Or is it illegal to sell paintings with colors that were dangerous to the painter's health in the production process? No. See what I mean.
    Girasole
    ps. oakmoss: in an interview with Neue Züricher Zeitung Luca Turin (no, I don't like him either) claimed that as soon as the IFRA had forbidden oakmoss, they discovered that the culprit really wasn't oakmoss but some other (cheaper) moss that is used to stretch the expensive oakmoss. Want aother example? To my understandig there are certain types of sandalwood that are almost extinct and therefore shouldn't be used in perfumes. These trees are protected by national laws. And yet this type of sandalwood is used in expensive perfumes. Sanctions? I don't see any. G.

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    1. Thank you, Girasole, for following up with more information on the consequences for perfumers of flouting the IFRA's conventions. I have coincidentally been reading J.C. Ellena's new book, which I'll review here soon, in which he offers a bit more insight on the matter as well...

      The more I think about the IFRA, the more it reminds of the United Nations, which was established by the community of nations, and the Charter of which supposedly constrains its members to, for example, not wage war unless they they get the go ahead from the Security Council. None of this stopped George W. Bush from waging a war in violation of the Charter, while ridiculing the U.N. (largely a U.S. creation) as a debate club.

      Isn't it nice that here at my personal blog, I can draw on analogous political examples. Perhaps I can come up with a religious one as well...

      Anyway, back to your point about art: I'm not sure that the situation is any worse in perfumery than it is in other highly capitalized realms. Take film, for example. It seems to me that most gainfully employed film directors are hacks, not artists. The big blockbuster films for which they are paid millions of dollars are generally not brilliant works of art.

      Same story in perfumery: many perfumers are hacks, not artists. But there are still some artists out there, both in film and in perfumery. So I do not think that we should make any sweeping claims to the effect that there is no art in perfumery, it's just that much of what is done there is not.

      Thank you, Girasole, for your remarks and excellent examples, which illustrate the massive hypocrisy in the excuses companies give for reformulating perfumes!

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  11. Thank you for this post, having recently discovered your site, I am browsing though, and this information strikes me as invaluable. You raise many good points. I mostly use hand made or small house niche perfumes, so don't run into the BHT issue there, but in body products, by say Jo Malone, I find in reading the label that the shower gel has BHT in it. Which ruins it for me. I will not be spending on that again, and will be careful going forward in reading the fine print.

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  12. People with allergies do wear perfume and I am one of them. I didn't have any problems before but before 2012 I would only wear the safe aquatics for men, and never had a problem. Since I have grown into wearing the masterpieces, I have discovered I am allergic to jasmine. Jasmine scents burn my skin and bother my nose. Does this stop me from wearing them? No because I love them, but I would love for the allergens to be taken out of the perfumes I love. Luckily the subject is not up for discussion and the regulations are going forward, the tighter the better.

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    1. Dear Ramon,

      Are you by chance an IFRA shill? Just checking...

      In all seriousness, do you also believe that peanuts should be prohibited from inclusion in foodstuffs because some people are allergic to peanuts????

      Pray tell!

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