Nov.21 - The scent of the world's most famous perfumes could be altered if new rules come in to force preventing the use of some essences identified as allergens. Joanne Nicholson reports
It may be advertised by an A list celebrity but Chanel No. 5 and many other scents could be under threat from new European Commission legislation. A report on allergies is calling for a ban on some of the natural ingredients used in them. That's outraged many in the French town of Grasse, famed for producing fragrances. Yvan Andre works for perfumer Techni Flor. (SOUNDBITE) (French) REGULATORY AFFAIRS MANAGER AT PERFUME-MAKER TECHNICO-FLOR, YVAN ANDRE, SAYING: "It's a catastrophe because certain molecules, whether they are natural or artificial are not replaceable." It's not only the original scents that would be changed. Fragrance houses fear they'll be left with smaller palettes of ingredients and say there's no need for new legislation. (SOUNDBITE) (French) REGULATORY AFFAIRS MANAGER AT PERFUME-MAKER TECHNICO-FLOR, YVAN ANDRE, SAYING: "We have regulations in place that list 26 substances as allergens on the packaging. And the consumer who knows he is allergic to different substance can read the packaging and simply not buy the product. It's as simple as that." But the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety estimates 1-3 percent of people in Europe are allergic to ingredients found in perfumes. It's recommending restricting the concentration of substances like citral, found in lemon and tangerine oils; coumarin, found in tropical tonka beans and eugenol, found in rose oil And it's proposing an outright ban on tree moss and oak moss, used in Chanel No.5 and Miss Dior. Talks about the impact of the rules on the $24billion fragrance industry are now under way. And it's not just the fragrance makers who are worried - the growers who supply them are equally concerned.