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06. Safe fragrances
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Vol. 8, No. 6, June 30, 2013
ISSN 1932-3018

Safe fragrances
Positioning this technology in the
Functionality Grid
Reformatted from: Van Wyk, Rias J: Technology - A Unifying Code, 2004, SMG, Cape Town, p.34. Based on: Ropohl, Gunter: Eine Systemtheorie der Technik, 1979, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich and Vienna, p.178.
This Newsbrief deals with a set of substances that are attracting increasing attention - fragrances that do not impart toxicity. In terms of the functionality grid it is concerned with Transmitting Energy (E).
Technology explorers are concerned with the health threats of commercial fragrances.

Fragrances are considered trade secrets, and manufacturers are not required to label their ingredients. In practice some cosmetics have been shown to contain harmful ingredients such as: allergens and sensitizers, phthalates, neurotoxins, and synthetic musks. (

Some organizations have posted signs that ban fragrances from their premises. For instance a sign at a cancer treatment center reads: "Please do not use scented products such as hair spray, perfume, or cologne when visiting this office."

The conventional, historical, view on fragrances was that they:

  • Posed no particular threats to the health of users
  • Were made mostly from natural products like flowers
At present fragrances are increasingly being manufactured from petroleum. One of the production processes involves the use of yeasts. And although yeasts have been used for many years to manufacture household items, modern yeasts have been genetically engineered to yield substances with new qualities. These yeasts have been shown to contain toxins that are harmful to humans.
Inevitably enterprises have stepped to the fore to produce safe fragrances. These typically rely on a limited number of recognizable ingredients that are readily listed.
On the NASA nine point scale, many safe fragrances have a technology readiness level (TRL) of 7 to 8. Technology explorers should take note of these safe ingredients and anticipate a burgeoning of interest in this field.

© Rias J. van Wyk, 2013. Editor.