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Statement on Unilever Starting to Disclose Fragrances via SmartLabel

For Immediate Release

Statement from PennPIRG Education Fund Toxics Advocate Dev Gowda on Unilever Starting to Disclose Fragrances via SmartLabel

“After persuasion from U.S. PIRG and other consumer groups, Unilever USA is now disclosing the fragrance ingredients in many of its most popular products. You now can find more information about the Dove, Axe, Degree, Nexxus, Suave, TRESemme and Vaseline brands on the SmartLabel website or app, which Unilever and other U.S. companies use to share information beyond what's on a product label.

"The company announced in February 2017 that they will disclose ingredients in all personal care products by the end of 2018. We applaud Unilever USA for disclosing fragrances in certain products ahead of schedule.

“While fragrance disclosure through SmartLabel is a good first step for Unilever and consumers’ right to know, the company should also provide full fragrance disclosure to consumers on product packages. Needing a smart phone in the store or having to look up the ingredients online at home before shopping is an unnecessary barrier for consumers. We will continue to push for Unilever to disclose fragrance ingredients on the product packages.

“Some chemicals used in fragrance have been linked to cancer, but because companies aren’t required to disclose fragrance ingredients, consumers have no way of knowing if the products they are applying to their bodies are putting their health at risk.

“The ingredient “fragrance” or “parfum” refers to a mixture of scent chemicals and ingredients that are not required by law to be disclosed. According to the International Fragrance Association approximately 3,000 chemicals can be used to make fragrance, some of which have been linked to cancer, reproductive and respiratory problems, and allergies.

“Procter & Gamble recently announced a fragrance disclosure commitment similar to Unilever’s that they plan to implement by the end of 2019. 

“L’Oréal USA, however, has made no such fragrance disclosure commitment. Earlier this year, PennPIRG Education Fund delivered more than 150,000 petition signatures collected by PennPIRG Education Fund and partner groups calling on L’Oréal USA to disclose fragrance ingredients. We will continue to push for L’Oréal USA to disclose fragrance ingredients. Consumers have a right to know. 

“Last year, PennPIRG Education Fund and several other consumer, public health, and environment groups called on Unilever, P&G, and L’Oréal to disclose fragrance ingredients and to pledge to be toxic-free.

“While this is a great move in the right direction to increase transparency for consumers, Unilever should take the next step to protect public health and achieve full fragrance disclosure and remove all toxic chemicals of concern from their personal care product brands.”  

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