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FAQ's  = Frequently Asked Questions

What is a petro-chemical?

-Petrochemicals are chemical products derived from petroleum or natural gas. The six basic petrochemicals are ethylene, propylene,butylenes, benzene, toluene, and xylenes.

What does “synthetic fragrance" mean?

-Synthetic fragrances (and synthetic flavors) are created from processes like the ‘Petroleum Refining Process’, which separates crude oil into ‘Intermediate’ products, including gasses/VOC’s that are then used to create various fragrances/odors and fragrance/flavor ingredients. Synthetic fragrances are by-products that have been created in a lab, often from petroleum or natural gas. “Airborne Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are known to have strong and adverse impacts on human health and the environment by contributing to the formation of tropospheric ozone.” -Quote from

Is an essential oil considered a "fragrance"?

- Yes, essential oils are used as fragrance in many products and many people are allergic to (and react to) the chemical constituents (VOC'S) emitted from essential oils just as badly as they react to synthetically produced fragrance. It is important to note that a truly "fragrance free" product will not contain: fragrance, parfum, essence, fragrance oils (man-made in a laboratory), extracts (made by soaking plant parts in a liquid to capture their aroma) nor essential oils (made by collecting the oils from the different parts of plants). It is critical to look at labels. Companies are now labeling products as "fragrance free" but they will add fragrance oils or essential oils singularly in the ingredients. Essential Oils per “...a class of volatile oils that gives plants their characteristic odors and are used especially in perfumes and flavorings, and for aromatherapy.” A truly fragrance free product has little to no smell.

Why don't we cover essential oils in our informational poster and resources?

A- Our focus is on synthetic fragrance VOC's (volitile organic compounds), but there are many chemicals that are the same in both synthetically derived fragrance and essential oils. Once a person starts reacting (whether allergically or neuroligically) their body will react to a chemical whether it is petroleum derived (created synthetically in a lab) or from plants (essential oils). One example of a common fragrance chemical is linalool: companies have no obligation to tell you if linalool (used as a fragrance) is synthetically derived or obtained from essential oils. Linalool is a 'known skin sensitizer' and a 'known allergen' used liberally in fragranced laundry products, cleaning and personal care products. The seemingly harmless citrus byproduct is often synthetically produced. When linalool reacts with ozone in the air, it creates 'secondary pollutants' (chemicals like formaldahyde. It is up to the consumer to check labels and call companies to find out what their fragrance is made out of. Knowing that so many people have the same reactions to synthetic frarance as they do to essential oils, it is up to the consumer to look at labels in order to be able to choose 100% fragrance free products (products free of synthetic fragrance, fragrance oils. extracts and essential oils)

Where can I find similar information on essential oil chemical constituents?

A- It is suggested you read the book "Essentially Deadly" by April Graham, and do further research on the chemical constituents of essential oils on PubMed. Allergic reactions to citrus oils are not uncommon, these can create difficulty breathing and skin reactions. Migraines and Nausea are common from oils like lavender, Jasmine or Geranium. While one person may use peppermint to soothe their stomach, it will instantly make another person want to vomit. Since many people use essential oils for medicinal purposes, it is even more important not to use it in public spaces because not everyone needs (or can tolerate) the same oils. Whether essential oils are medicinal or not is debatable. There is no debate that there are no health benefits from synthetic frragrance. Everyone should agree on that.

Are Companies who sell fragranced products in California really required to disclose fragrance ingredients now that they have the "Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Right to Know Act of 2020"?

A- The short answer is "No". Companies are only required to list fragrance ingredients that are above a certain percentage in a product. Even though this means we will not see all of a products fragrance ingredients (or it means a company can lower the amount of a certain ingredient and not disclose it), the "California Safe Cosmetics Program (CSCP) Product Database" is still the BEST resource to find fragrance ingredients from companies that have complied and listed theirs.

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