5. How is the general public exposed to fragrance allergens?
There are various modes of exposure to fragrances, including not only products used for their scent, such as perfumes and eau de toilette, after shaves and deodorants, but also products where scent is an added feature, such as other cosmetic categories (for example wipes), topical pharmaceuticals, household products and products encountered in the occupational setting.
The general public is predominantly exposed to fragrance substances via their ubiquitous use in perfumes or perfumed cosmetic products, but also via their presence in and use of detergents, fabric softeners, and other household products. In the latter product types fragrances may be used to provide the consumer with a fresh smell or to mask unpleasant odours from raw materials. Fragrance substances are also used in aromatherapy and may be present in herbal products. A fragrance formula (‘perfume’) may contain up to several hundredsof different ingredients. Special fragrance databases lists more than 2587 fragrance ingredients used for perfuming.
Different routes of exposure are reflected by the areas of the body that are affected. Deodorants are for example associated with axillary dermatitis. However, while sensitisation and initial allergic reaction may follow a distinct pattern in affected area, less specific exposures, for example via hand creams or cleaning lotions may later be sufficient to cause allergic contact dermatitis. More...