Barb Wilkie's EHN Website
Last updated 2008

EHN Board President Barb Wilkie was very ill from chemically-induced kidney disease for several years. She passed away May 31, 2011. EHN presents this site both as a tribute and as valuable information. Many links and references will be out of date but Barb's research holds up over time. We will be transferring the site page by page, with updated details, to EHN's main site. If you would like to reach an EHN staff person, please contact us directly.


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Fragrance is regulated?!?

By Barb Wilkie


Dear KSL-TV Staff:


RE: Reed Hainsworth/Lindon Spring Farm Candles: "Wax is regulated. Fragrance is regulated and according to the regulatory agencies that govern our industry, they are all proven to be safe."

I do wish your reporters had verified the above statement before reporting it.

Just about as strongly as I wish the fragrance industry would have to test the safety of its products BEFORE marketing.

The Food and Drug Administration is the agency over fragrances and the FDA does not regulate the fragrance industry! The FDA states:

"Neither cosmetic products nor cosmetic ingredients are reviewed or approved by FDA before they are sold to the public. FDA cannot require companies to do safety testing of their cosmetic products before marketing. If, however, the safety of a cosmetic product has not been substantiated, the product's label must read 'WARNING: The safety of this product has not been determined.'"

The multi-multibillion dollar industry is not only "self-regulated," which works only for those naive folks who believe a fox can indeed guard a hen house, but it is further protected by trade secret laws.

Trade secret laws do not protect the industry from "rip-off" scents being formulated. However, trade secret laws do protect the industry from an aware citizenry -- an aware consumer.

The industry's concern is market, of course, just with a twist. They obviously feel an informed public would not necessarily be willing to buy and use the synthetic fragrances, formulated with toxic chemicals about which the industry knows too little for any one chemical, and virtually nothing about chemicals used in combination in any one product. They know even less about the effects of a combination of various scents outgassing in a warm and crowded room from various bodies sporting various layers of scented products, topped off with cologne, aftershave or perfume. To get a clue as to some of the chemicals used, please see FDA Petition at -- this page also contains information from two laboratories that analyzed six fragrances.

There are warnings for pregnant women not to use fragrances. Of course, this begs the question: How does a pregnant woman -- or anyone else for that matter -- avoid volatile organic compounds? See

I, for one -- of millions of people -- can guarantee one does not have to be a user of fragrances to have one's life turned upside down by those VOCs . See NIEHS's "Common Indoor Air Pollutants" at

Our bodies effectively bring the toxins into our blood stream through inhalation as well as through absorption via skin and/or eyes. The chemicals then cross the blood-brain and -placental barriers, target organs and store in adipose (fatty) tissue. In the case of a pregnant woman, how will those chemical fumes affect not only her, but her baby? If you are as concerned as I, please visit Chem Tox at

It is long past time due to protect the public . . . by informing the public.

People have a right to practice informed consent when making their purchases. Our government agencies have an obligation to protect us ... by, at the very least, requiring warning labels for products released to market without adequate testing. Those regulations are already on the books, the FDA just doesn't enforce them. And to those people who object to testing because they want to spare the animals, that is fine, but why are we the chemical industry's unwitting, unwilling, human guinea pigs?

All of this information, plus more, is available from the website of the Environmental Health Network

I certainly hope you can revisit the candle issue. The folks making candles should be informed too. Read the pages of the FDA site and you too will see the fragrance industry is not regulated. For more information on fragrances, you would do well to visit the website of Betty Bridges RN ... her site, as well as her published work, is available from

I'm also going to paste in a recent press release. While written for Valentine's Day, the information is timely, and important, any day of the year.

Please inform your public of the truth behind the fragrance industry ... you may just save a life! (And I haven't even touched on the lead in the wicks!)

Thank you for your time.

Barbara Wilkie
(My convention is prevention)


Joint Release Issued by the Cancer Prevention Coalition and the Environmental Health Network

Perfume: Cupid's Arrow or Poison Dart

CHICAGO, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Professor of Environmental Medicine, University of Illinois School of Public Health, Chicago, and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, and Amy Marsh, President of the Environmental Health Network, Larkspur, California:

Lovers looking for the perfect Valentine's gift should think twice before giving a bottle of toxic chemicals to their sweethearts. Recent analysis of Calvin Klein's "Eternity Eau de Parfum" (Eternity) by an industry laboratory specializing in fragrance chemistry revealed 41 ingredients. These include some known to be toxic to the skin, respiratory tract, nervous, and reproductive systems, and others known to be carcinogens; no toxicity data are available on several ingredients, while data on most are inadequate. Additionally, some ingredients are volatile and a source of indoor air pollution. Since 1995, several consumers have complained to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of neurological and respiratory problems due to Eternity.

The analysis was recently commissioned by the Environmental Health Network (EHN) as many members had complained of asthma, migraine, sensitization, or multiple chemical sensitivity when exposed to Eternity. Based on this analysis, EHN filed a Citizen Petition with the FDA on May 11, 1999, which was subsequently endorsed by the Cancer Prevention Coalition. The petition requests that the FDA take administrative action and declare Eternity "misbranded" or "adulterated" since it does not carry a warning label as required by the terms of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. Grounds for requesting the warning label include FDA regulation 21CFR Sec. 740/10: "Each ingredient used in a cosmetic product and each finished cosmetic product shall be adequately substantiated for safety prior to marketing. Any such ingredient or product whose safety is not adequately substantiated prior to marketing is misbranded unless it contains the following conspicuous statement on the principal display panel: Warning: the safety of this product has not been determined."

Since May, over 700 consumers with health problems from exposure to various mainstream fragrances have written to the FDA supporting EHN's petition. The FDA responded on November 30 to the effect that they had been unable to reach a decision on the grounds of "other priorities and the limited availability of resources." The petition is thus still open for further public complaints and endorsements.

A wide range of mainstream fragrances and perfumes, predominantly based on synthetic ingredients, are used in numerous cosmetics and toiletries, and also soaps and other household products. Currently, the fragrance industry is virtually unregulated. Its recklessness is abetted and compounded by FDA's complicity. The FDA has refused to require the industry to disclose ingredients due to trade secrecy considerations, and still takes the position that "consumers are not adversely affected -- and should not be deprived of the enjoyment" of these products. The Cancer Prevention Coalition and EHN take the unequivocal position that the FDA should implement its own regulations and act belatedly to protect consumer health and safety.

Valentine sweethearts should switch to organically grown (pesticide-free) roses or other flowers as safe alternatives to mainstream perfumes.v SOURCE Cancer Prevention Coalition and Environmental Health Network; 02/07/2000

CONTACT: Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Professor of Environmental Medicine, University of Illinois, School of Public Health, Chicago, Illinois, Chairman, the Cancer Prevention Coalition, 312-996-2297, or Barbara Wilkie of the Environmental Health Network, P.O. Box 1155, Larkspur, California 94977, (Barb's email is no longer valid, please contact EHN)

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The Environmental Health Network (EHN) [of California] is a 501 (c) (3) non profit agency and offers support and information for the chemically injured. EHN's topic on this page is that of candles ... wicks and fragrances. The URL for EHN's homepage is