The Foundation warns consumers against fragrance diffusers

  • By Lo Chi and Liu Tzu-hsuan/staff reporter, with a staff writer

The Consumers Foundation has found formaldehyde, plasticisers and allergens in common fragrance diffusers and called on the government to introduce safety rules.

The foundation said it randomly tested 13 diffusers purchased from hypermarkets, grocery stores and cosmetics stores in Taipei and New Taipei City, as well as e-commerce platforms, in November and December last year.

The results showed that one of them contained 60 parts per million (ppm) of formaldehyde, which is a typical chemical that causes indoor air pollution and has been listed as a carcinogen and teratogen by the WHO. the foundation said at a press conference in Taipei. yesterday.

Photo courtesy of the Consumers Foundation

Another product was found to contain more than 10,000 ppm of diethyl phthalate (DEP), which is primarily used as a plasticizer, the foundation said.

Although phthalates may serve as a fixative in perfumes and other fragrances, recent studies have shown that large-scale, long-term exposure to the chemical compounds may increase the risk of breast cancer, endometrial cancer and other cancers linked to female hormones, as well as reduce male fertility, the foundation said.

In addition, nine samples were found to contain allergens listed in European cosmetic regulations, including hydroxycitronellal, coumarin, cinnamaldehyde, linalool, limonene and ionone, which could trigger allergic reactions such as sneezing, rash or shortness of breath in some people. said.

Seven samples contained galaxolide, or “synthetic musk”, which is a persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substance according to the assessment of the European Chemicals Agency, he added.

The labeling of two of the products purchased on e-commerce platforms also failed to comply with regulations, he added.

According to the Commodity Labeling Law (商品標示法), the “competent authority” of the municipal, county, or city government must notify the manufacturer or importer to rectify the problem within a given period. Those who fail to do so would face a fine of NT$20,000 to 200,000 per time until the rectification is made, he said.

The foundation said it sent a letter to the Department of Economic Affairs last year suggesting diffusers should be regulated because the volatile compounds they emit could enter the human body.

He called on the government to introduce diffuser regulations as soon as possible and to require companies to label all ingredients, to enable consumers to make informed choices.

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Donovan B. Sanford