Making a recent clothing purchase for my daughter, I noticed at the sales desk a sweet little box with a sketch of a fairy-tale princess on the front. I was very curious and thought it was adorable until I peeked inside the box. It was perfume for little girls.
A lovely concept, to be sure. But, of course, being who I am, I can’t help but read the label (on the back, I mean – that one that actually matters!!), and I was not at all surprised, but oh-so-disappointed to read that is was a cocktail of synthetics.
Many girls grow up wanting to be just like mama, wearing sparkly dresses and high-heeled shoes and lipstick, and smelling as sweet as roses. It’s a fantasy world and a childhood experience they should be a part of.
But shame on those manufacturers who manipulate this experience with cheap toxic fragrances, and characters children love and have an affinity for.
In a recent Washington Toxics Coalition report Something Smells: What Tween Perfume Makers Should Tell You, But Don’t, new testing of many perfumes used by tweens contain undisclosed hormone-disrupting ingredients that should have been reported under state law, yet these companies aren’t complying with the state law that requires them to report the presence of these chemicals to the Department of Ecology and the public.
Nine of 20 children’s fragrance products tested (see the full list here) contained hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates. Of the nine products, seven products contained over 5 ppm of the phthalate commonly called DEP and were made by companies with annual gross sales over 1 billion dollars.
Scientists are concerned about phthalates in personal care products because the products are applied directly to the skin and may be a significant source of exposure. (Phthalates are classified as hormone-disruptors and have been shown to affect reproductive development in children. They are also linked to asthma and obesity)
In my online research of children’s fragrances, I discovered that almost all children’s fragrances available for sale online (Beauty Encounter has 112 for sale) did not even list the ingredients for the product, many of them were linked to much-loved cartoon characters and/ or to popular perfume companies such as Burberry and Bvalgari, and that price (which ranged from $12 to $200 per bottle) was no indicator of the nature of the ingredients. I found only one article relating to the toxicity of commercial children’s fragrances, and no natural perfume for children. Startling.
(On a positive note, I did find several websites on how to make your own perfume for kids using flowers and herbs. Here’s our favourite)
It’s a worrying issue. And one that parents, grandparent, aunts and uncles need to be pro-active on. Yes, it may look sweet and pretty, and even smell like lilacs and rosebuds, but the potential (and I would go so far as to say actual) side-effects of exposure to these aroma-chemicals and other synthetics is simply not worth the risk.