Is it true that these products contain carcinogens? Can they cause cancer in the adults and babies who use them?"
There is no evidence associating the use of fragranced products with an increased risk of cancer in humans. Some fragrance ingredients have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, but only at concentrations many times higher than those used in consumer products.
Fragrances are found in a wide range of everyday products, including perfumes, cosmetics, and bath and shower products. Several thousand different chemicals are used in fragrance manufacture and each fragrance contains a mixture of chemicals. These chemicals are evaluated and assessed for safety by regulatory bodies and expert panels around the world.
In Australia, fragrance ingredients are regulated by the Australian Government’s National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme. In accordance with the Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards) (Cosmetics) Regulations 1991, fragrant products sold in Australia must list “fragrance” or “perfume” on the product label, but they are not required to list the individual ingredients that make up the fragrance.
Chemical safety evaluations consider the intended use of the chemical and its concentration, and studies are conducted using low, medium and high doses over both the short and long term. International organisations such as the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials Expert Panel continue to assess the safety of ingredients in fragrances. Where assessments find ingredients to be hazardous to human health, the International Fragrance Association issues a standard to restrict or prohibit the use of these ingredients.