Hi! Shirley here, talking about trade secrets today. What are trade secrets? I’m glad you asked. Here’s the Wikipedia definition of trade secret:
A trade secret is an invented formula, practice, process, design, instrument, pattern, commercial method, or compilation of information which is not generally known or reasonably ascertainable by others, and by which a business can obtain an economic advantage over competitors or customers.
That’s a mouthful, right? Take note of that last phrase: “by which a business can obtain an economic advantage over competitors or customers.” I understand that a business might want an advantage over its competitors. But, to have and economic advantage over customers? That sounds downright sinister to me!
Why am I talking about trade secrets? Easy. The fragrance industry hides their ingredient list behind a claim that the list is a trade secret. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) “A major loophole in federal law allows fragrance manufacturers to hide potentially hazardous chemicals in product scents, including substances linked to allergies, birth defects, and even cancer.”
Check your labels. If you have a cologne or perfume, you’re likely not even going to find an ingredient list on it. Check your personal care and makeup products. The most you’ll see is “fragrance” or perhaps “masking fragrance.” When it comes to household cleaners and such, they’re not even required to tell you their full list of ingredients.
The question you need to ask is this: “Why are they hiding their list of ingredients?” Trade secret? I call foul on that. Let me illustrate.
If I packaged my Cauliflower and Cheese recipe, I would have an ingredient list that reads as follows:
Cauliflower, milk, cheese, butter, egg, whole wheat flour, mustard, chipotle powder, sea salt, black pepper
Do you really think that someone else could reproduce my Cauliflower and Cheese dish from that list? Maybe, if they had the list plus the dish and a lot of expensive equipment. But I seriously doubt it. Many couldn’t even recreate it with the recipe. (It’s a great recipe by the way. Like Mac & Cheese without the guilt!)
What’s a person to do? Don’t buy anything with fragrance in it – unless the fragrance’s ingredients are listed. Why? Simple – we don’t know what’s really in it. And there are some scary ingredients found in fragrances. Don’t take my word for it. Go back to that EWG article I mentioned earlier. Read that to learn more.
Are you concerned about fragrances? Do you avoid them or do you continue to use them?
What would it take to get you to rethink using fragrances?