The term “fragrance” as listed on an ingredient label is protected under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1966. Fragrance is still considered a proprietary ingredient, and unfortunately the regulation designed to conceal ingredients from the eyes of competitors also hides ingredients from consumers.
Found in most every category of formulated products including makeup, household cleaners, trash bags, and baby products, fragrance is the only ingredient allowed to hide under a generic term and doesn’t have to disclose what it really is.
So, how can consumers avoid synthetic or undisclosed ingredients that are included in added fragrances? We have a few ideas …
1) When looking for new products, use the “fragrance free” trait filter on GoodGuide to help narrow your product selection to those that don’t contain a fragrance in the ingredient list.
2) When looking at the ingredient label of a product you’d like to purchase, look for the source of the scent. This often looks like ingredients listed in parentheses after the term “fragrance” appears in the list of ingredients.
3) Choose products with a GoodGuide rating of 8 or higher. If a company doesn’t disclose the specific constituents in the fragrance component of a product, the product score is capped at 6.
The foaming hand wash from Method below is a good example. This product has the generic term “fragrance” listed in the ingredients, and it also has received a GoodGuide rating of 10. This is because the brand privately disclosed all of the ingredients of the fragrance, and none of the ingredients that make up the the fragrance component carried health concerns.