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Banning Lilial from use in products in the United States is way overdue!

Banning Lilial from use in products in the United States is way overdue!

Alex Scranton
Director of Science
& Research at WVE

Banning Lilial from use in products in the United States is way overdue!


The California Legislature is considering a bill, AB 496, which would prohibit the sale in California of cosmetics containing any one of 26 toxic chemicals, including Lilial.

What is Lilial?

Lilial (also listed on ingredient labels as butylphenyl methylpropional) is a fragrance ingredient that is unfortunately still widely used in cosmetics, cleaning products and other fragranced household goods in the United States. Lilial is cheap to make, smells great, and blends easily with lots of other fragrance ingredients.

What is wrong with Lilial?

The fragrance industry has known for decades from their own research, that Lilial is a potent reproductive toxicant, capable of causing severe sperm damage, testicular degeneration and significant fertility problems in animal studies. The industry intentionally chose to keep this bad news from their research a secret from the public, refusing to publish it in scientific journals and deeming it “confidential business information” when required to report it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Further, despite the dire warnings from their laboratory research, the industry never made an effort to investigate if there was any potential harm in humans. They could have (and should have) measured levels of Lilial accumulated in humans and investigated if humans with higher levels of Lilial in their bodies are experiencing higher rates of reproductive harm such as sperm damage or reduced fertility.

Lilial is now banned in other countries

Eventually, after decades of secrecy, the industry’s research was finally declassified, and when reviewed by scientific panels, was deemed sufficient evidence of harm in the European Union to enact a ban. Several other countries around the world have followed the EU’s example and implemented Lilial bans as well.

The U.S. needs to ban Lilial too

None of this comes as a surprise to U.S. manufacturers, many of whom have already been actively reformulating their fragrances to eliminate Lilial for the last several years, in order to continue selling their products around the world. It is unconscionable that U.S. manufacturers are advocating to continue exposing Americans to this obviously dangerous chemical, for the sole purpose of creating a scent, when there are other healthier and safer options that also smell beautiful.

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