In January 2020 researchers from Belgium published the results of their study to assess whether absorbent hygiene products contained sensitising fragrances. The researchers stated that sensitising fragrances, which can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals, are present in a wide range of products, although their use is not regulated in all industries. In Europe, absorbent hygiene products are only covered by the general product safety directive which means that these fragrances can be used freely. However, in contrast the use of these substances is regulated in the cosmetics and toy industries. The presence of sensitising fragrances was assessed in 10 absorbent hygiene products, which included four tampons, three panty liners, and three sanitary pads. Results showed that a total of 8 fragrances known to cause an allergy were present in the products tested, with 5 products containing at least one allergen above 10 μg/g. The researchers therefore called for the manufacturers of absorbent hygience products to disclose the presence of any sensitising fragrances so as to potect susceptible members of the general public.
Desmedt B et al. Sensitizing fragrances in absorbent hygiene products. Contact Dermatitis. 2020 Jan 17. [Epub ahead of print]