Friday, April 12, 2013

Opinion: Methyl eugenol-containing essential oils

PLEASE READ: The toxicity of essential oils goes way beyond allergens. Although I have great respect for naturalistas and organic perfumers, there is enough evidence that many natural / organic essential oils pose significant health risks such as carcinogenicity and neurotoxicity that properly diluted FDA-approved synthetic fragrance oils are safer by comparison. I still use many essential oils in my blends but when using them, I will not exceed the IFRA limits especially when using a substance such as rose essential oil which has high amounts of naturally occuring methyl eugenol and eugenol. I had not used rose oil in any perfume until recently, and I'm stunned to learn about the staple note in perfumery being as toxic as it is. It has put in perspective for me why perfumers layer notes, both natural and synthetic, and has also elucidated for me why IFRA exists.

I've never felt more relieved that I have always researched any material I use for perfume-making well in advance before offering products to my customers. I hope you will read the following article and reflect on whether or not everything organic and natural is necessarily better for us, and if synthetics are unfairly maligned when in truth, some of the chemicals we fear are actually safer alternatives to the natural essences they mimic.

From Cropwatch: "Worries about possible risks due to the methyl eugenol content of natural materials –herbs, essential oils -have surfaced in the recent past but there is a dearth of information on the subject directly available in the public domain to aromatherapists or complementary health practitioners. The following feature is an attempt to add some background information to this subject.

"The warm, musty-mild-spicy odoured aromatic compound Methyl Eugenol (aka eugenol methyl ether, or 4-allyl-1,2-diomethoxybenzene) is prohibited from being directly added as an ingredient to fragrances intended for retailed cosmetic products, due to worries about its’ potential carcinogenicity.

"As it occurs naturally in many essential oils and extracts, the addition of these ingredients is not restricted outright, but on provision that the methyl eugenol content does not exceed the following concentration in the following finished products according to the IFRA standards (see www.ifraorg.org/)..." Continue reading: Opinion: Methyl eugenol-containing essential oils - Cropwatch, May 2004