Balsam of Peru was the main recommended marker for perfume allergy before 1977, which is still advised. The presence of Balsam of Peru in a cosmetic will be denoted by the INCI term Myroxylon pereirae. In some instances, Balsam of Peru is listed on the ingredient label of a product by one of its various names, but it may not be required to be listed by its name by mandatory labeling conventions (in fragrances, for example, it may simply be covered by an ingredient listing of "fragrance").
The diagnosis of the causal allergen is made by patch testing with a mixture of fragrance ingredients, the fragrance mix. This gives a positive patch-test reaction in about 10% of tested patients with eczema, and the most recent estimates show that 1.7–4.1% of the general population are sensitized to ingredients of the fragrance mix.
Two studies show that inhalant-like allergies and sensitivity/intolerances are experienced by a subset of the US population, in the form of asthma and chemical sensitivities. Results aggregated from both surveys found that 30.5% of the general population reported scented products on others irritating, 19% reported adverse health effects from air fresheners, and 10.9% reported irritation by scented laundry products vented outside.
Household products, such as soaps and detergents, perfume products, cosmetics, and other consumer goods, are estimated to use 2,500 different fragrance ingredients. Of those, approximately 100 different substances are known to elicit responses in at least some individuals. An estimated 1.7-4.1% of the general population shows a contact allergic response to a mix of common perfume ingredients.
Although products can be labeled "fragrance-free", many still contain lesser-known fragrance chemicals that consumers may not recognize.
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- "Fragrance Contact Allergy: A Clinical Review". American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. Retrieved 11 Feb 2012. "Fragrance ingredients are also one of the most frequent causes of contact allergic reactions. The diagnosis is made by patch testing with a mixture of fragrance ingredients, the fragrance mix. This gives a positive patch-test reaction in about 10% of tested patients with eczema, and the most recent estimates show that 1.7–4.1% of the general population are sensitized to ingredients of the fragrance mix."
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