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Abstracts:  Respiratory and Asthmatic Effects
of Perfumes and Fragranced Products


1) Inhalation challenge effects of perfume
scent strips in patients with asthma

 Placebo-controlled challenges with perfume
in patients with asthma-like symptoms.

Effect of odors in asthma.

 Natural ingredients based cosmetics.
Content of selected fragrance sensitizers.

 Functional imaging of effects of fragrances
on the human brain after prolonged inhalation.

 Neurotoxic fragrance produces ceroid and
myelin disease.

 EEG and ERP studies of low-level odor exposure
in normal subjects.

1)  Inhalation challenge effects of perfume
scent strips in patients with asthma.

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 75(5):429-33

Kumar P; Caradonna-Graham VM; Gupta S; Cai X; Rao PN;
Thompson J; 1995 Nov

BACKGROUND: Perfume- and cologne-scented
advertisement strips are widely used. There are,
however, very few data on the adverse effects of perfume
inhalation in asthmatic subjects.

OBJECTIVES: This study was undertaken to determine
whether perfume inhalation from magazine scent strips
could exacerbate asthma.

METHODS: Twenty-nine asthmatic adults and 13 normal
subjects were included in the study. Histories were obtained
and physical examinations performed. Asthma severity was
determined by clinical criteria of the National Heart, Lung,
and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Skin prick tests with common
inhalant allergens and with the perfume under investigation
were also performed.

Four bronchial inhalation challenges were performed on
each subject using commercial perfume scented strips,
filter paper impregnated with perfume identical to that
of the commercial strips, 70% isopropyl alcohol, and
normal saline, respectively.

Symptoms and signs were recorded before and after
challenges. Pulmonary function studies were performed
before and at 10, 20, and 30 minutes after challenges.

RESULTS: Inhalational challenges using perfume produced
significant declines in FEV1 in asthmatic patients when
compared with control subjects. No significant change in
FEV1 was noted after saline (placebo) challenge in
asthmatic patients.

The percent decline in FEV1 was significantly greater after
challenge in severely asthmatic patients as compared with
those with mild asthma.

Chest tightness and wheezing occurred in 20.7% of
asthmatic patients after perfume challenges.

Asthmatic exacerbations after perfume challenge
occurred in 36%, 17%, and 8% of patients with
severe, moderate, and mild asthma, respectively.

Patients with atopic asthma had greater decreases
in FEV1 after perfume challenge when compared
with patients with nonallergic asthma.

CONCLUSIONS: Perfume-scented strips in magazines
can cause exacerbations of symptoms and airway
obstruction in asthmatic patients.

Severe and atopic asthma increases risk of adverse
respiratory reactions to perfumes.

SN- 1081-1206
2) Placebo-controlled challenges
with perfume in patients with
asthma-like symptoms.

Allergy 51(6):434-9

Millqvist E; Löwhagen O; 1996 June

A group of nine patients with respiratory symptoms after
nonspecific irritating stimuli, but without any IgE-mediated
allergy or demonstrable bronchial obstruction, were
referred to the asthma/allergy outpatient department
for evaluation of suspected asthma.

In order to find a provocation model and objectively assess
these patients’ symptoms in controlled studies, provocation
with perfume or placebo was performed.

The same patients were also subjected to perfume
provocation with or without a carbon filter mask
to ascertain whether breathing through a filter with
active carbon could prevent the symptoms.

The patients breathed through the mouth during the
provocations, as they used a nasal clamp to prevent any
smell of perfume.

We found that the patients’ earlier symptoms could
be verified by perfume provocation.

Breathing through the carbon filter had no protective effect.

The conclusion is that symptoms suggesting
hyperreactivity of the respiratory tract and asthma
can be provoked by perfume without the presence
of bronchial obstruction, and that using a carbon filter
mask has no preventive effect.

The symptoms are not transmitted via the olfactory
nerve, since the patients could not smell the perfume,
but they may have been induced by a trigeminal reflex
via the respiratory tract or by the eyes.

SN- 0105-4538
3) Effect of odors in asthma.

Am J Med 80(1):18-22

AU- Shim C; Williams MH Jr; 1986 Jan

Many patients complain that some odors worsen their asthma.

Perfume and cologne are two of the most frequently
mentioned offenders.

Four patients with a history of worsening of asthma on
exposure to cologne underwent challenge with a cologne,
and their pulmonary function was tested before, during,
and after the exposure.

Forced expiratory volume in one second declined 18 to 58
percent below the baseline period during the 10-minute
exposure and gradually increased in the next 20 minutes.

Saline placebo pretreatment did not affect the response to
subsequent challenge.

Single-blind pretreatment with metaproterenol and atropine
prevented decline in one-second forced expiratory volume
in three of four patients and blunted the response in the other.
Cromolyn sodium prevented decline in one of four, and
occlusion of nostrils prevented decline in one of three.

A survey of 60 asthmatic patients revealed a history of
respiratory symptoms in 57 on exposure to one or more
common odors.

Odors are an important cause of worsening of asthma.

SN- 0002-9343
4) Natural ingredients based cosmetics.
Content of selected fragrance sensitizers.

Contact Dermatitis 34( 6): 423-6

Rastogi SC; Johansen JD; 1996 Jun

In the present study, we have investigated 42 cosmetic
products based on natural ingredients for content of 11
fragrance substances:
geraniol, hydroxycitronellal, eugenol, isoeugenol, cinnamic
aldehyde, cinnamic alcohol, alpha-amylcinnamic aldehyde,
citral, coumarin, dihydrocoumarin and alpha-hexylcinnamic

The study revealed that the 91% (20/22) of the natural
ingredients based perfumes contained 0.027%-7.706%
of 1 to 7 of the target fragrances.

Between 1 and 5 of the chemically defined synthetic
constituents of fragrance mix were found in 82% (18/22)
of the perfumes.

35% (7/20) of the other cosmetic products (shampoos,
creams, tonics, etc) were found to contain 0.0003-
0.0820% of 1 to 3 of the target fragrances.

Relatively high concentrations of hydroxycitronellal,
coumarin, cinnamic alcohol and alpha-amyl cinnamic
aldehyde were found in some of the investigated products.

The detection of hydroxycitronellal and alpha-
hexylcinnamic aldehyde in some of the products
demonstrates that artificial fragrances, i.e.,
compounds not yet regarded as natural substances,
may be present in products claimed to be based
on natural ingredients.

SN- 0105-1873

5) Functional imaging of effects
of fragrances on the
human brain after prolonged inhalation.

Chem Senses 1994 Aug;19(4):359-64
Nasel C, Nasel B, Samec P, Schindler E, Buchbauer G

Department of Radiology, University of Vienna,
AKH-Wien, Austria.

Beside olfactory or trigeminal stimulation of chemosensory
receptor-cells some results in published literature suggest
that fragrances show a direct affect on the brain.

The effect of the fragrance 1,8-cineol, which was described
in literature as 'stimulating', on regional and global cerebral
blood flow (rCBF and gCBF) in the human brain after prolonged
inhalation was investigated.

The results show an increase of global-CBF without
preference to primary or secondary olfactory centres
after an inhalation-time of 20 min.


6) Neurotoxic fragrance produces
ceroid and myelin disease.

Science 1979 May 11;204(4393):633-5

Spencer PS, Sterman AB, Horoupian DS, Foulds MM

Acetyl ethyl tetramethyl tetralin (AETT), a component of
soaps, deodorants, and cosmetics, produces hyperirritability
and limb weakness in rats repeatedly exposed to the compound.

Brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves are discolored blue,
show progressive neuronal ceroid degeneration, and develop
spectacular myelin bubbling.

These neurotoxic properties of AETT provide the basis for
industry's decision to withdraw the compound from consumer

In addition, AETT offers the experimentalist a new probe to explore
the etiology and pathogeneses of human ceroid and myelin diseases.

PMID: 432669, UI: 79159581


7) EEG and ERP studies of low-level odor
exposure in normal subjects.

Toxicol Ind Health 1994 Jul-Oct;10(4-5):579-86

Lorig TS
Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia 24450, USA.

Evidence from four EEG/ERP experiments is presented.

Findings of these experiments consistently demonstrate
ability of low-level and undetected odors to alter

Behavioral and cognitive effects are also described.

These data may have applicability to theories of MCS
since they illustrate the possibility that low-level or
undetected odors affect central nervous system activity
and may precipitate or cue MCS symptoms.

MeSH Terms:
Electroencephalography/drug effects*
Evoked Potentials/drug effects*



PMID: 7778116, UI: 95296964

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