of Polar Volatile Organic Compounds in Consumer Products and
Study by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
Reference: Lance Wallace, EPA; Phone 703.648.4287
Symptoms of exposure are taken from industry-generated Material Safety Data
Compiled by Julia Kendall (1935 - 1997);
Distributed by EHN, 1-(415)-541-5075
CNS = Central Nervous System -- YOUR brain and spine. CNS disorders
include: Alzheimer's disease, Attention Deficit Disorder, Dementia, Multiple
Chemical Sensitivity, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Sudden Infant
Death Syndrome (SIDS).
CNS exposure symptoms include -- aphasia, blurred vision, disorientation,
dizziness, headaches, hunger, memory loss, numbness in face, pain in neck
(Links from chemicals to Aldrich so you can retrieve
info from MSDS, once you sign up.)
The Principal Chemicals Found
in Scented Products Are:
(cologne, dishwashing liquid and detergent, nail enamel remover) --
On EPA, RCRA, CERCLA Hazardous Waste lists.
"Inhalation can cause dryness of the mouth and throat;
dizziness, nausea, incoordination, slurred speech, drowsiness, and, in severe
"Acts primarily as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant."
Dangerous To Life or Health Concentrations (IDLHs)]
(perfume, cologne, hairspray, laundry bleach, deodorants, detergent, vaseline
lotion, shaving cream, shampoo, bar soap, dishwasher detergent) --
"Local anesthetic, CNS depressant"
"irritation to the mouth, throat, eyes, skin, lungs, and GI tract causing
nausea and abdominal pain."
"May cause kidney damage."
"Do not use with contact lenses."
(perfume, cologne, shampoo, fabric softener, stickup air freshener, dishwashing
liquid and detergent, soap, hairspray, bleach, after shave, deodorants) --
Carcinogenic (linked to pancreatic cancer);
"From vapors: irritating to eyes and respiratory passages, exciting cough."
"In mice: hyperaemia of the lungs."
"Can be absorbed through the skin causing systemic effects."
"Do not flush to sewer."
(perfume, cologne, soap, shampoo, nail enamel remover, air freshener, laundry
bleach and detergent, vaseline lotion, deodorants, fabric softener) --
"irritating to the upper respiratory tract"
"headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, CNS depression,
and death in severe cases due to respiratory failure."
(perfume, shaving cream, nail enamel, fabric softener, dishwasher detergent,
nail color, stickup air freshener) --
"local irritant and CNS stimulant"
"readily absorbed through body tissues"
"irritation of eyes, nose and throat"
"dizziness, confusion, nausea, twitching muscles and convulsions"
"Avoid inhalation of vapors."
(perfume, hairspray, shampoo, fabric softener, dishwashing liquid and detergent,
laundry detergent, shaving cream, soap, vaseline lotion, air fresheners,
nail color and remover, paint and varnish remover) --
On EPA Hazardous Waste list; symptoms:
fatigue; irritating to eyes and upper respiratory tract even in low
"Inhalation of ethanol vapors can have effects similar to those characteristic
of ingestion. These include an initial stimulatory effect followed by drowsiness,
impaired vision, ataxia, stupor..."
Causes CNS disorder.
(after shave, cologne, perfume, shampoo, nail color, nail enamel remover,
fabric softener, dishwashing liquid) --
On EPA Hazardous Waste list;
"irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract"
"may cause headache and narcosis (stupor)"
"defatting effect on skin and may cause drying and cracking"
"may cause anemia with leukocytosis and damage to liver and kidneys"
"Wash thoroughly after handling."
(perfume, cologne, disinfectant spray, bar soap, shaving cream, deodorants,
nail color and remover, fabric softener, dishwashing liquid, air fresheners,
after shave, bleach, paint and varnish remover) --
"Prevent its contact with skin or eyes because it is an irritant and sensitizer."
"Always wash thoroughly after using this material and before eating, drinking,
...applying cosmetics. Do not inhale limonene vapor."
(perfume, cologne, bar soap, shampoo, hand lotion, nail enamel remover,
hairspray, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, vaseline lotion, air
fresheners, bleach powder, fabric softener, shaving cream, after shave, solid
"In animal tests: ataxic gait, reduced spontaneous motor activity and depression
... development of respiratory disturbances leading to death."
"depressed frog-heart activity."
Causes CNS disorder.
paint and varnish
Banned by the FDA in 1988!
No enforcement possible due to trade
secret laws protecting chemical fragrance industry.
On EPA, RCRA, CERCLA Hazardous Waste lists.
"Absorbed, stored in body fat, it metabolizes to carbon monoxide, reducing
oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood."
"Headache, giddiness, stupor, irritability, fatigue, tingling in the limbs."
Causes CNS disorder.
(bar and liquid soap, cologne, perfume, shaving cream, deodorants, dishwashing
liquid, air freshener) --
Sensitizer (damaging to the immune system).
(cologne, perfume, soap, shaving cream, deodorant, air freshener) --
"Causes asthma and CNS disorders."
(perfume, cologne, laundry detergent, bleach powder, laundry bleach, fabric
softener, stickup air freshener, vaseline lotion, cologne, soap, hairspray,
after shave, roll-on deodorant) --
"highly irritating to mucous membranes"
"Aspiration into the lungs can produce pneumonitis or even fatal edema."
Can also cause "excitement, ataxia (loss of muscular coordination), hypothermia,
CNS and respiratory depression, and headache."
"Prevent repeated or prolonged skin contact."
Relevant Facts You Will Want to Know
You'll want to know --
Ninety-five percent of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds
derived from petroleum.
They include benzene derivatives, aldehydes and many other
known toxics and sensitizers -- capable of causing cancer, birth defects,
central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.
"Neurotoxins: At Home and the Workplace," Report by the Committee
on Science & Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, Sept.
16, 1986. (Report 99-827)
Chloroform was found in tests of fabric softeners: EPA's 1991 study.
A room containing an air freshener had high levels of p-dichlorobenzene
(a carcinogen) and ethanol: EPA's 1991 study.
An FDA analysis (1968-1972) of 138 compounds used in cosmetics that most
frequently involved adverse reactions, identified five chemicals
(alpha-terpineol, benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, limonene and linalool)
that are among the 20 most commonly used in the 31 fragrance products tested
by the EPA in 1991!
Thirty-three million Americans suffer from sinusitis (inflammation or infection
of sinus passages).
Ten million Americans have asthma. Asthma and asthma deaths have increased
over 30 percent in the past 10 years.
Headaches cost $50 billion in lost productivity and medical expenses and
157 million lost work days in 1991. "Focus on Fragrance and Health," by Louise
Kosta, The Human Ecologist, Fall 1992.
* Identification of Polar Volatile Organic Compounds
in Consumer Products and Common Microenvironments, Lance Wallace,
U.S. EPA, Warrenton VA; William C. Nelson, US EPA, Research Triangle Park,
NC; Edo Pellizzari, James H. Raymer, Kent W. Thomas, Research Triangle Institute,
Research Triangle Park, NC; March 1991. Paper #A312 to be submitted for
presentation at the 1991 Annual Meeting of the AWMA. (EPA/600/D-91/074)
Additional information from
World Health Organization Publications
Concise International Chemical Assessment Document,
No. 5 1998, iv + 32 pages [E, with summaries in F, S]
ISBN 92 4 153005 7
Sw.fr. 13.-/US $11.70; in developing countries: Sw.fr. 9.10
Order no. 1380005
A concise assessment of the risks to human health posed by exposure to limonene,
a chemical released to the atmosphere in large amounts from certain trees
and bushes as well as from anthropogenic sources. In industry, limonene
is used as a solvent in degreasing metals prior to industrial painting, for
cleaning in the electronic and printing industries, and as a solvent in paint.
The compound is also used as a flavour and fragrance additive in food, household
cleaning products, and perfumes.
The document is part of a new series of brief reports aimed at the
characterization of hazards and dose-response for exposures to selected
industrial chemicals. With this goal in mind, documents focus on studies
and findings considered critical for risk characterization.
In experimental animals exposed to limonene, the liver is the principal
target organ; exposure affects the amount and activity of different liver
enzymes, liver weight, cholesterol levels, and bile flow. Studies indicate
that limonene is not genotoxic and has no teratogenic or embryotoxic potential.
No case reports or epidemiological studies were available for the evaluation
of health effects in humans.
For the general population, food is identified the principal source of
exposure. The report established a guidance value for the ingestion of limonene
of 0.1 mg/kg body weight per day. The report further concluded that, at current
estimated levels of intake, limonene in food does not represent a significant
risk to human health.
Environmental Health Criteria, No. 164
1996, 242 pages [E, with summaries in F, S]
ISBN 92 4 157164 0
Sw.fr. 46.-/US $41.40; in developing countries: Sw.fr. 32.20
Order no. 1160164
Evaluates the risks to human health and the environment posed by exposure
to methylene chloride. Due to its volatility, stability, and properties
as a solvent, methylene chloride is widely used in aerosols, paint removers,
the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, polyurethane foam manufacturing,
and metal cleaning.
Virtually all atmospheric release of this chemical result from its use as
an end-product by various industries, combined with the use of paint removers
and aerosol products at home. The general public is exposed to methylene
chloride primarily through the use of consumer products, such as paint removers,
which can result in relatively high indoor levels.
The most extensive sections evaluate the toxicity of methylene chloride in
experimental animals and humans, giving particular attention to studies
indicating carcinogenic potential in some species.
Studies indicate that methylene chloride is rapidly absorbed through the
lung and gastrointestinal tract, is distributed throughout the body, and
rapidly excreted via the lungs. The main toxic effects in exposed humans
are reversible central nervous system depression and carboxyhaemaglobin
Studies have also reported liver and renal dysfunctions, haematological effects,
and neurophysiological and neurobehavioural disturbances. Although several
studies have investigated the link between human exposure to methylene chloride
and cardiovascular disease and cancer, the report cites several inadequacies
in these studies and concludes that no firm link with either cardiovascular
disease or cancer can be made.
Concerning risks to the environment, the report concludes that, with the
exception of accidental spills, use of methylene chloride has no significant
impact on the environment.