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­Smells like danger: Chanel No. 5 may be banned over allergy risk

Published time: November 06, 2012 17:08
Edited time: November 06, 2012 21:08
Four bottles of Chanel No. 5 (AFP Photo/Stan Honda)

Four bottles of Chanel No. 5 (AFP Photo/Stan Honda)

Scientists have found that some of the ingredients in Chanel's iconic No. 5 scent and a number of other perfumes can cause allergic reactions. EU health officials are considering banning the perfumes from sale.

European scientists unveiled a list of 100 ingredients thought to be hazardous to human health, adding 74 more substances to a previous, similar list. Among these is tree moss, traces of which are featured in the iconic Chanel scent, which has been in production for nearly a century. The list of potentially harmful perfumes also includes Guerlain’s Shalimar and one from Thierry Mugler, The Daily Mail reports.

The European Commission is now considering whether perfumes containing these substances, even in small amounts, should be banned from sale. Such a decision would strongly affect the manufacturers.

Perfumers found the initiative ridiculous, saying the whole industry could be devastated. “Chanel No. 5 has never done any harm to anyone,” Sylvie Jourdet of the French perfumers’ society is quoted by The Daily Mail as saying.

The whole idea remains dubious, considering the fact that different people have different allergies. “Lemon, jasmine and bergamot all contain allergenics,” Jourdet said. “It is the death of perfume if this continues. The more you use natural ingredients, the more there is a risk of allergies.”

Scientists have called for a ban on some of the ingredients on the list, while they say the use of others should be limited. They’ve suggested that 12 substances – including such popular components of perfumes as lemon citral, coumarin, found in tonka beans and eugenol, found in rose oil – be limited to 0.01 per cent of the product.

“It would be the end of beautiful perfumes if we could not use these ingredients,”
Françoise Montenay of Chanel says.