Due to allergy concerns, the European Commission is banning some molecules in best-selling perfumes. Jeanne Yurman reports.
Patricia de Nicolai has been making perfumes in Paris for almost 25 years. After perfecting certain scents she must now reformulate some of her best-sellers due to the European Commission's new anti-allergy restrictions. Regulators say that two molecules in oak moss could result in contact dermatitis or rashes and cracked skin in up to three percent of the population. De Nicolai understands the concern but thinks singling out the perfume industry stinks. (SOUNDBITE) (French) PATRICIA DE NICOLAI, FOUNDER OF NICOLAI PERFUMES, SAYING: "For example everything you eat. There are some products which we know cause an allergic reaction. Part of the population cannot tolerate eating oysters, they fall ill very quickly, but these people do not eat oysters, full stop." Widely-used oak moss - a staple ingredient in Chanel's No. 5 and Miss Dior - is loved for its woody, earthy notes and the staying power it gives perfumes. Some scent makers are turning to algae to replace oak moss, though de Nicolai sniffs that any change takes valuable time. (SOUNDBITE) (French) PATRICIA DE NICOLAI, FOUNDER OF NICOLAI PERFUMES, SAYING: "For some formulas it can be really quick, just one ingredient, which is quite easy to replace, but for other formulas it is more complicated and can mean weeks of work." The Commission's ban will kick in in early 2015.