Have a question in mind? Here you'll find some of the common questions people ask, and more.
Glycol ethers are a family of ingredients. While some glycol ethers have been demonstrated to cause reproductive harm, that’s not true of the whole ingredient family. SC Johnson ONLY allows fragrances with glycol ethers that live up to International Fragrance Association standards and our own SC Johnson standards.
While SC Johnson’s fragrance palette has approximately 1,300 ingredients, it’s important to remember that we excluded another 2,000 commonly used ingredients because they didn’t meet our SC Johnson standards. A typical oil-based fragrance could have as many as 50 different ingredients; a complex fragrance might mix 50 to 200. Having a palette of 1,300 options gives our perfumers great room for creativity so they can develop the amazing fragrances you expect.
We work closely with our fragrance suppliers to ensure that we have evaluated the ingredients in our fragrances, both for human health and the environment. We meet the regulatory requirements of the countries in which we operate, as well as the standards specified by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA).
Plus, at SC Johnson, we take the review of fragrance ingredients a step further. We evaluate them not only under the IFRA standards, but also under our own standards. We start with the IFRA list and then apply our own internal requirements. These internal requirements may look at the same criteria as IFRA, such as carcinogicity, mutagenicity or reproductive toxicity, but at SC Johnson, we may take a different view of an ingredient. In some instances, we may also consider additional factors such as consumer confidence with ingredients or other scientific viewpoints.
Phthalates are actually a large family of ingredients that have many uses. Our fragrance palette does not include phthalates. In 2008, we began requiring our suppliers to phase out phthalates from the fragrances they supply for SC Johnson products.
Parabens are a family of preservatives that are widely used in cosmetics. Some of our fragrances contain small amounts of parabens to preserve the fragrance and formula. While a small number of people have allergies to preservatives, they play an important role. Without them, many products would not last more than a week or two before being contaminated by bacteria, mold or yeast. So, we believe adding preservatives in the smallest effective quantity makes sense. We only use parabens that live up to International Fragrance Association standards and our own SC Johnson standards.
d-Limonene is an essential fragrance material that is distilled from the oil extracted from citrus peels. Many of our fragrances do contain small amounts of d-Limonene. There are some concerns about using d-Limonene because it can sometimes cause skin sensitivity or allergies on contact. d-Limonene is one the EU 26 allergens, which is a list of common fragrance components that can potentially cause a skin reaction in individuals who are already allergic to those materials.However, consistent with the IFRA standards, we require that fragrance ingredients only be used at concentrations that have not been shown to result in allergic responses in people who are not sensitive to these materials. And, as required by law, where d-Limonene is used this is clearly stated in the ingredients list on the label of the relevant product.
For many years, musk for fragrance was extracted from the glands of male musk deer. But in recent decades, synthetic musks have replaced natural musks for ethical and economic reasons. Polycyclic and nitromusks are two types of synthetic musks. SC Johnson fragrances do not use nitromusks, which have been linked to reproductive issues. We do use polycyclic musks (for example, Galaxolide and Tonalide), which are commonly used in household products and cosmetics and are not classified as either toxic or bioaccumulative, meaning they are not known to build up in the environment. That said, some recent studies have detected these polycyclic musks in blood and mother’s milk samples. When we see new information like that, we take extra care in our analysis of an ingredient, but we have not yet seen any scientific indication of adverse effects of polycyclic musks at the levels in our fragrances. As in the case with all our ingredients, if new scientific information emerges about polycyclic musks, we will evaluate the science and where appropriate make changes to our fragrance palette.
In today’s world, we’re often told we should always use natural things. From food to clothing to other products, the notion is that natural ingredients may be healthier or help sustain resources and the environment. But surprising as it may seem, that isn’t always the case. In fact, synthetic counterparts are frequently no more toxic than their natural counterparts.
An example is d-Limonene, which is in many natural fragrance materials and is a component of citrus peels. d-Limonene can cause skin allergies and can potentially be toxic to organisms in waterways, depending on the dose. And many other natural fragrance ingredients have the same hazard. In fact, the amount of d-Limonene in an orange peel is enough to warrant a “Harmful” classification as a skin allergy hazard in the European Union AND a “Dead Tree and Dead Fish” symbol for being dangerous to the environment! This is the same labeling as required and carried by the labels of many household products using the synthetic d-Limonene.
So should the use of natural fragrance materials be avoided altogether? No. But neither should the use of synthetic ingredients with similar or better profiles. As long as a fragrance ingredient is used at an appropriate concentration in a product, there should be no problems with using it. And that goes for both natural and synthetic ingredients.
Consumers tell us they love fragrances, because they do so much to make a home special. They can freshen the air or provide that just-cleaned ambiance that many want. We do make fragrance-free products for people who prefer them, but most of our testing shows that the majority of people love fragranced household products.