The “secret” ingredients that give colognes their signature scents could also be damaging sperm, according to a study by the nonprofit consumer advocate Environmental Working Group. According to AOL Health, researchers analyzed the chemical composition of 17 perfumes and colognes and found that many scented products contain compounds that have the potential to interact with hormones and cause sperm damage, which can lower fertility.
There are 12 different hormone-disrupting compounds found in the colognes. Georgio Armani’s Acqua di Gio, for example, contains seven compounds that interact with either estrogen or androgen (female and male hormones) or both, according to the study.
“We don’t know how harmful repeated use of these colognes and perfumes are, because the emphasis in the industry is not on long-term testing,” says study author Dr. Olga V. Naidenko. ”While infrequent use could be fine, because the same chemicals show up in many different products, over time they can build up in your body and have bad effects.”
Colognes can also be dangerous because many of the chemicals used are not listed on the label. The Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973 requires companies to list cosmetics ingredients on the product labels but explicitly exempts fragrance. As a result, manufacturers can leave “secret” ingredients off the labels. American Eagle Outfitters’ fragrance AE77 had the most undisclosed ingredients with 24 chemicals, followed by Chanel Coco with 18 unlisted ingredients. Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue had the fewest unlisted ingredients, containing just seven.
EWG is advocates stronger regulation of scented products. You may not see colognes and perfumes as dangerous because you’re not eating or drinking the products, but chemicals are absorbed through the skin. Numerous other products such as shampoos, lotions, bath products, cleaning sprays, air fresheners and laundry and dishwashing detergents, also contain potentially harmful chemical ingredients that are hidden behind the word “fragrance.”
What can we do? Besides buying chemical-free products, we need more regulation. “First, we’d like to see every ingredient listed on the label, because people should know what’s going on or in their bodies,” Naidenko says. “The next step is to make sure the ingredients used have been thoroughly tested to determine their safety.”
For more results from the study, click here.