Contributed by Rosa & Brandon Silk
At the age of 10, my son Brandon started having an allergic reaction to an ingredient in Unilever’s popular Axe body spray. For the last eight years, we have been struggling to keep my son, an otherwise happy and healthy young man, in school and out of hospital emergency rooms due to one harmful word in this product: “Fragrance.”
Although seemingly innocent, fragrance can be made up of dozens, even hundreds, of chemicals—including known carcinogens, hormone-disruptors and other toxic offenders used to scent a cosmetic or personal care product. Due to a gaping hole in federal law, manufacturers do not have to list the secret, often toxic, ingredients that make up the “fragrance” in 40% of personal care and beauty products on the market today that contain fragrance.
As a result, consumers, researchers and even regulators have very little access to safety data on the over 2300 chemicals used to formulate fragrance. What we do know however, is that fragrance can contain chemicals linked to endocrine disruption, cancer, neurotoxicity, respiratory problems and reproductive harm.
After many years researching what ingredients might be causing Brandon’s severe reactions, we still have no idea which chemicals are being used in Axe body spray or what ingredients are causing the problem. To this day, Brandon must be very careful when he leaves the house.
As a mom, I want nothing more than to watch my son experience life fully, and for him to have the same opportunities that other teenagers do. Unfortunately, a normal life is the farthest from Brandon’s reality. Brandon can no longer go to school because of possible exposure to the chemicals in Axe body spray, chemicals his doctors say could kill him.
On behalf of Brandon and others affected by this life-threatening issue, I ask you to join me and urge Unilever to be an industry leader by:
• Fully disclosing fragrance ingredients on your product labels.
• Eliminating and safely substitute chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental harm and other health concerns in your cosmetic products.
• Supporting federally mandated fragrance ingredient disclosure.
Brandon shouldn’t have to miss out on his youth due to this serious allergic reaction, and people shouldn’t have to work so hard to find out what’s in our personal care products that may be causing us harm.
Join me in writing Unilever to demand full fragrance disclosure of these secret and harmful chemicals so that Brandon, and so many others like him, need not live in fear for their lives.
In good health,
Rosa and Brandon Silk