How do we Know that Scents are Safe? Part 3

We have covered a lot of ground on this topic and have discussed “gray areas” that require our personal judgment be exercised.  Here is one more for you to consider.

More and more people expect that any “smell experience” that they might have encountered should be able to be reprised.  We get into areas where simply identifying the chemistries that define the smell and then re-assembling them may not be prudent.  A recent blog, seen here and not authored by me, addressed the smell of a rain storm and is a case in point.  Many classes of compounds that are created when a rain storm arrives were categorized.  All in all, thousands if not many, many times that number were bundled into three categories: ozone (and effects); petrichor (natural and not natural origin ingredients found on the ground and on pavement, etc.); and geosmin (mostly natural-origin materials deriving from flora and fauna directly or indirectly and associated with “dirt” = earth).  However, the collateral Continue reading

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How do we Know that Scents are Safe? Part 2

Whether the flavors or fragrances are constructed of natural or synthetic ingredients we have established that both can contribute to the list of safe ingredients and to the list of un-safe ingredients.  The origin of the ingredient is a moot point – it is the structure of the ingredient that determines its toxicity / safety profile.  [To be clear, the source can be a differentiating factor IF there are multiple ingredients associated with one source or the other including but not limited to structural isomers of the principal ingredient(s). For instance nature frequently creates l (or d) isomers while synthetic versions are usually racemic mixtures (containing both isomers in equal quantities).]
In the group of ingredients that are routinely used by many to construct fragrances and sometimes flavors there are items for which their safe use has been observed for decades and even longer and yet there are still detractors who claim that Continue reading

How do we Know that Scents are Safe? Part 1

The creation of fragrances that are used in so many products, from fine fragrances to hair care products to scented candles to cleaning products – literally thousands and thousands of products – requires many hundreds and even thousands of different fragrance ingredients.  It isn’t enough to think that creating a scent that smells like oranges or grapefruit or any other recognizable, descriptive scent that we know very well will be safe simply because it smells like things that we KNOW in our life experiences to be safe.  Is it safe if it is all-natural?  As it turns out, it may not be even then.  So how do we handle this potential problem?
We start by grounding ourselves with facts.  First, the most potent toxins known to man are all-natural.  One example: aflatoxin.  Second, regardless of the source (natural OR not) if a single chemical structure is derived from natural sources and it is purified OR if it is made synthetically and it is purified (purified is KEY for both) then the toxicity profile will be the same for each.  Third, an ingredient as described above will usually have an effect on tissue when it is applied at a Continue reading