Is it dangerous to mix aroma chemicals with other aroma chemicals?

John73

Member
Apr 5, 2021
Is mixing aroma chemicals with other aroma chemicals dangerous, as you can accidently create toxic perfume?

Does anyone know any website or formula to calculate if two chemicals will create a hazardous substance?
 

KBF1972

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 23, 2013
I think this is could be a problem with some of the new “artisan” brands. One of which is very popular here on Basenotes. Just throw a bunch of stuff in a cauldron and mix it up and call it perfume
 

Nasenmann

Well-known member
Aug 16, 2010
Is mixing aroma chemicals with other aroma chemicals dangerous, as you can accidently create toxic perfume?

Does anyone know any website or formula to calculate if two chemicals will create a hazardous substance?

You won't find an app or a website to calculate something like that. Chemistry is far too complex for that. What you can look up are toxicology reports, safe levels (according to IFRA and Co) and stuff like that for individual aroma chems. You won't learn from that how they interact with each other though.

Maybe leave chemistry to the chemists.
Personally I have not much fear expermienting with aroma chems and I have never heared of a hazardous reaction from combining any of those but if you are concerned, that is sound advice right there.

If you have a specific combination in mind I suggest you post it in the DIY-subforum since there are some pros and semi-pros who might be able to help you out.
 

GoldWineMemories

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2019
There's a volunteer regulating body that all perfumes sold in the EU have to adhere to called IFRA that specifically mandates what molecules can be used at what levels to avoid this. Just look up IFRA regulations if you want to learn more.
 

avo1811

Well-known member
Dec 6, 2018
I will say it’s one that has its own thread and people go insane every time they release something. ��

do you have insider info that we are missing, that this person has no idea what theyre doing and just throws a bunch of stuff in a cauldron and calls it perfume? Just curious where your info is coming from i guess.
 

Healer

Well-known member
Jul 15, 2004
Is mixing aroma chemicals with other aroma chemicals dangerous, as you can accidently create toxic perfume?

Does anyone know any website or formula to calculate if two chemicals will create a hazardous substance?

I'm not familiar with any website that may be specific to this. When working with any chemicals you should refer to the manufacturer's safety data sheet (SDS). In "Section 10: Stability and reactivity" on the SDS you can read about chemicals that they will be incompatible with.

In pure form there can be hazards with aroma-chemicals so care needs to be taken handling them eg. Allyl Hexanoate (used to create smell of pineapple) is toxic in pure form but okay to use diluted.

In terms of reactions the main reactions perfumers are concerned with are called Schiff's Bases (condensation reactions), the most common of which is the chemical Aurantiol (used for orange blossom) which is created by mixing Hydroxycitronellal (common Lily of the Valley aroma-chemical) with Methyl Anthranilate (used for grape scent and flavouring). There is a reaction and the mixture will get warm. Methyl Anthranilte will react with other aldehydes and is some cases the resulting reaction products can be dark in colour which can happen when the product is left over time.

So make sure you work with chemicals intended for use in perfumery and refer to the SDS for safety information. Read the product data sheet and background information and see if any issues are raised.

As others have mentioned there's the cosmetic regulations and IFRA. IFRA advise on maximum level of any particular chemical that is restricted. There are some chemicals that are now banned. You can look on IFRA website using the CAS number of the chemicals. When chemicals are sold by the supplier there should be an allergen report, SDS and IFRA certificate available, however some very small scale suppliers of natural materials tend not to have these.
 

parker25mv

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2016
Is mixing aroma chemicals with other aroma chemicals dangerous, as you can accidently create toxic perfume?

Does anyone know any website or formula to calculate if two chemicals will create a hazardous substance?
Basically the answer is no, you have nothing to worry about there.

You're not going to create anything "new and unexpected" that wasn't already harmful in the first place.


Probably the most "dangerous" thing related to "reactions" here is a few substances can oxidize in storage (in the presence of air and light, over long periods of time) and create sensitizers, which can cause a burning sensation and painful rash on skin.
These substances include completely natural things like orange oil.
(still nothing that's going to send you to the hospital, if it's in normal dilution levels)

There are not many members on this board who can tell you that with certainty, but I'm qualified to tell you that.
Your fears are unfounded here.
 

Hazel_

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 8, 2021
Listen to Parker25mv :thumbsup: Assuming you're buying ACs from reputable sources specializing in those materials, you're not in any danger. Obviously ACs are not meant to be ingested or spread neat on the skin or breathed in neat (in the case of powders), but that's common sense. Even IFRA-restricted materials aren't going to explode or anything.

It's good to be careful, though! Your question comes from a much better attitude than folks who think they can put any essential oil undiluted on their skin, and call it perfume just because it's "natural". I came to perfume from an interest in cosmetic formulation, and I can tell you that making soap is an order of magnitude more dangerous than making perfume.
 

pkiler

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 5, 2007
In general, no, you are not going to make something toxic, IF the person making has studied, pays attention, and actually cares about people and customer's health.

There are a few who want to be called and known as people who flout the recommendations, that have caused skin injury. One guy in particular needs to be drummed out of Perfumery.

You must be smart, very smart to actually be a Perfumer. Not everyone "has it", or gets it. And you need to care for your fellow Man, instead of trying to just get a name for being a rebel.

The worst thing that has happened in my career, in this regard, was that a recent scent for a client blended after compounding, reacted, and made the smell of ammonia. This was solved by adjusting the PH, and neutralizing the ammonia. But that's it... but that's decent "Chemistry" work, too.

Real toxicity comes onto play when mixing different common household cleaning products, like bleach and ammonia, and or other things, that can react and create Chlorine gas, which is highly toxic, even fatal. This is 10,000 times worse than anything possible in Perfumery.. no one died from wearing or smelling a perfume, as far as I know... maybe 1 person per year dies of chlorine gas inhalation in the USA.
https://www.quora.com/How-many-peop...ousehold-products-and-breathing-chlorine-gas?
 
Dec 26, 2020
Chloramines from bleach and ammonia.

Hydrochloric and hypochlorous acid from bleach and acids.

Glass cleaner can have ammonia or acids for example and should never be mixed with bleach.

Both cause irritation to mucus membranes and death in extreme cases. Always follow MSDS and please, if you can't get that stuff from the supplier, use good judgment on where you purchase from.
 

Casper_grassy

Well-known member
May 5, 2020
The worst thing that has happened in my career, in this regard, was that a recent scent for a client blended after compounding, reacted, and made the smell of ammonia. This was solved by adjusting the PH, and neutralizing the ammonia. But that's it... but that's decent "Chemistry" work, too.

If it smelled like ammonia, I'd assume the pH was high, if so, what type of solution did you use to bring it down?
Sorry, not too good at this stuff but open to learn.
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
There are not many members on this board who can tell you that with certainty, but I'm qualified to tell you that.

Hmm. I am not sure either on your putting yourself above other members of the board or on your assertion of qualification.

Have you even, say, a single graduate course in toxicology?

Could you share your basis for this assertion you apparently expect the OP to expect?

Always best to give the reason and let people decide for themseves whether it's enough for them to have trust.

That said, if the OP likes it is not difficult to search for discussion and sources for the reactions which do occur in perfume between ingredients, which principally are formation and reversal of formation of Schiff Bases, acetals, and esters, and polymerization, none of which cause harm. And as you say, oxidation occurs, which can increase potential for skin sensitization. It is not that I'm disagreeing with your conclusion, only the self-commentary as well as comparison to others, or at least the absence of provided reason it's justified. Perhaps it is, why not let us know rather than leave it as assertion. I had thought you only had some chemistry courses or perhaps an undergraduate degree in it but obviously I don't really know and neither would the OP.

Possibly an interesting article for the OP by a chemist and professional perfumer or at least so I understand, which discusses interactions of ingredients: https://www.fragrantica.com/news/The-Life-Span-of-a-Perfume-Mixing-and-Aging-8125.html
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
If it smelled like ammonia, I'd assume the pH was high, if so, what type of solution did you use to bring it down?
Sorry, not too good at this stuff but open to learn.
It was a complicated matter without obvious cure, I don't recall the details but most likely a forum search would turn it up, as you wait on reply, if you like.
 

Dallas.com

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Sep 28, 2017
Any substance that is applied to your skin has the potential for causing either local or systemic harm. Over the years the really dangerous substances used in perfumery have been banned or their use have been limited to non toxic levels. This is why I agree with the above comments that you should be responsible while making your perfumes and learn about your materials, safe levels and potential side effects before trying them on you , or worse, releasing them to the public. There are multiple resources that will guide you with regards of the safety of the Aroma chemicals and also "naturals" that can be as toxic if not properly used.
 

Hazel_

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 8, 2021
Any substance that is applied to your skin has the potential for causing either local or systemic harm.

This is very true, and in fact exactly the reason I worded my earlier reply (in sum: "you don't need to worry about ACs, people are more lax with the more dangerous EOs") the way that I did.

I think in some of the responses here we're reading some holdover anxiety from past interactions with inexperienced perfumers who have made perfumes that cause skin reactions. That's an expected and valid response. Anyone who takes perfuming seriously—and I'd venture to say most of the DIY forum does—takes great care not to cause sensitization and reactions.

However, I'm concerned with perhaps over-emphasizing the idea of 'danger' to the non-perfumer public that buys perfumes. (This question was originally asked in the General forum, after all.) We already have countless companies selling perfumes whose marketing boils down to "all natural" or worse "no chemicals." I'm not talking about folks like Mandy Aftel, who I immensely respect, but the fear mongers. I see their ads on Instagram every day, they're disappointingly prevalent.

I want people to know that there is equal danger in naturals and that just because ACs may have unfamiliar names, doesn't mean they're likely to react violently. Citrus essential oil is as bad or worse as any given aromachemical in terms of reactions and sensitization.
 
Last edited:

parker25mv

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2016
Hmm. I am not sure either on your putting yourself above other members of the board or on your assertion of qualification.
Oh no, I think you misunderstand.

I was definitely not putting myself above other members in terms of knowledge of perfumery.
The opening post was asking about unforeseen chemical reactions between different things.

For the most part there is generally very little chemical interaction between the different ACs that go into a perfume, certainly not the type of thing that would create anything with a very different biological effect.

As for toxicology, it is a subject I am pretty familiar with. I'm not so much commenting on things in perfumery not being toxic, but rather by mixing things you're not going to be creating anything new that is more toxic than what the starting ingredients were in the first place.
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
"Pretty familiar with."

That's the "qualification."

There has been a lot of past occurrences of you presenting what you say as they were expert statements when in many cases they were onlyspeculative opinions not even backed up by having smelled the material you were advising on (yet no one could tell from the reply, they would have thought you had experienced what you were saying.)

When telling someone "I'm qualified to tell you that," and that's a direct quote of what you said, particularly on a heath and safety question, one would hope there would be better back up than "I am pretty familiar with." Perhaps your years in the industry, perhaps some graduate education on it, perhaps an undergraduate major in it, you know, objective qualifications to back up claiming one is qualified. Enough to let a person decide for themselves if they really should be taking on authority what you say, from you saying "I'm qualified to tell you that."

Perhaps a bit less of the assertions would result in less friction, if you find these replies friction. And besides this, they would be clearer and more accurate.

You did do a good job before, after a long while of objections, in adding disclaimers that you hadn't actually smelled the material you are talking about. So I had hoped that that tendency of sounding expert when not really, or at all in a case like that, might have ended and was a little concerned about the apparent return of it.

I really am not by any means trying to give you a hard time. I'm trying to communicate an important point of not over-asserting and that doing so causes problems.

And I want to be clear: But for that, you are very good and valued contributor. That's a big "but," though. Fortunately it is incredibly easily taken care of, if you wish, which would leave, purely being a very good and valued contributor.
 

parker25mv

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2016
"Pretty familiar with."

That's the "qualification."
How about advanced biochemistry instead of the specific field of toxicology.

There has been a lot of past occurrences of you presenting what you say as they were expert statements when in many cases they were only speculative opinions not even backed up by having smelled the material you were advising on (yet no one could tell from the reply, they would have thought you had experienced what you were saying.)
Fine, I will admit there's been many cases where I've commented on things (matters of perfumery & smell) where I've been less than qualified, but this is a different situation here.
I'm pretty certain there will be virtually no issues.
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
What is your qualification in "advanced biochemistry"?

I have never heard, for example, of a degree in "advanced biochemistry."

And even if a person had a degree in biochemistry, that would not actually make them qualified on whether perfume ingredients could become toxic, would it now?

Not that this is necessarily the best definition, but as an example I can grab right now and which I don't disagree with, from a biochemical society

Biochemistry is the branch of science that explores the chemical processes within and related to living organisms. It is a laboratory based science that brings together biology and chemistry. By using chemical knowledge and techniques, biochemists can understand and solve biological problems.

Biochemistry focuses on processes happening at a molecular level. It focuses on what’s happening inside our cells, studying components like proteins, lipids and organelles. It also looks at how cells communicate with each other, for example during growth or fighting illness. Biochemists need to understand how the structure of a molecule relates to its function, allowing them to predict how molecules will interact.

Biochemistry covers a range of scientific disciplines, including genetics, microbiology, forensics, plant science and medicine.

Not really the same. And certainly biochemistry courses really do not cover the same.

I am not sure you are absorbing my point. It is not on whether perfumes as commonly formulated according to presently accepted standards on ingredients and usage levels are safe, but on asserting that you are "qualified" as part of your response, without providing what the qualifications are for people to judge for themselves. We still haven't seen a fact on why you are "qualified."

You were doing fine right up to deciding to add on the "rely on my authority" part, which is what that tagline was. That's all. I wasn't objecting to your conclusion, only that aspect, and I did so mostly because it seems a pattern and one that has caused problems.

Everyone can have an opinion, no one objects to sharing opinions, but sharing opinions with the air or specific claim of authority when not actually being qualified raises hackles and rightfully so.
 
Last edited:

Hazel_

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 8, 2021
It is not on whether perfumes as commonly formulated accordingly to presently accepted standards, but on asserting that you are qualified as part of your response, without proving what the qualifications are for people to judge for themselves.

Bill I know you are coming from a place of wanting to ensure that the information shared is good, and I appreciate your zeal, but this kind of questioning makes me uncomfortable. People don't share the precise details of their lives/experience online for many reasons. Anonymity is important to many, sometimes because of safety. So while I understand where you're coming from, I think it might be worth considering that just because someone doesn't provide their details doesn't mean they can't be taken at their word. (And someone who does share precise details might be lying or simply incompetent, impossible to know without knowing well.)

If we don't have good faith (albeit with fact checking) we have very little. We can check the facts, but I wish we would not check the people. I hope this doesn't seem melodramatic.
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
If a person does not wish to share how they are qualified they should not assert they are qualified with implication they should be trusted due to their qualifications.

Particularly when, as here, the qualification really isn't there.

I am sorry you are uncomfortable but a lot of discomfort is caused to a lot of people by practices that are easily stopped such as not claiming or giving impression of peaking from authority when that's either not really true or, as has happened before, has been the farthest from the truth.

There is simply no reason to do it and no reason to defend it being done.

If you want to assure someone on safety and want to add authority by mentioning your years in the industry being involved with safety evaluations, or your published papers, or your degree in toxicology, or at least SOMETHING to back up your claim of being "qualified" then go ahead, but just saying it and expecting the person to trust you actually are ":qualified" is bogus.

No one put a gun to anyone's head and made them type they were "qualified." I'm not criticizing content that someone had no choice but to post.

There was also no reason to turn this into a three-way. I think it was likely being well resolved already. But of course it was your right. Perhaps you have managed to enable more of the same.
 

parker25mv

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2016
Look, there's not really a point in arguing about it. The opening poster asked a question. There's no real way for anyone to "prove" they're qualified to give her a reliable answer here.


And even if a person had a degree in biochemistry, that would not actually make them qualified on whether perfume ingredients could become toxic, would it now?
That's partially true, but what you probably don't understand is you can't be extremely well versed in that field without knowing some basics of toxicology.

The point is mainly that with the type of substances you're dealing with (in perfumery), there are not going to be many reactions, and of the few reactions that there are, they are generally not the type to produce new things with products that would be expected to have biological properties that are very different than what you started with.


And certainly biochemistry courses really do not cover the same.
Just to clarify and address that, I'm not merely talking "just a couple courses". No, that certainly would not be enough to be able to provide an adequate opinion on this.

without proving what the qualifications are for people to judge for themselves.
Well, there's not really any way to "prove" that here, is there?
Other than possibly you finding some expert with a test list of questions and answers and then testing me in private message.


I think we can admit that this is a question most members on this forum are not really qualified to directly answer, other than to say "In all my decades of perfumery I've never heard or come across anything warning of this sort of thing".
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
I gave very clear examples, apparently none of which apply.

No years in the field.

No published papers.

No degree in toxicology.

Absolutely nothing you can share that would enable another person to come to an informed conclusion that you are "qualified."

Only claimed "familiarity" with "advanced biochemistry," and biochemistry is not the same thing.

When not being able to give specifics on one's qualifications, or not willing, it's bogus to assert being qualified as part of an attempt to persuade people to believe you.

And you do have a track record of trying to get people to believe you on things you absolutely did not know what you were talking about, I mean one h*** of a lot of posts where you completely did not but wrote them to appear that you did, so let's leave it at that, you either see my point that such is best avoided, or you don't.

EDIT: There was a typo in my previous response which you, as made perfect sense for you to do, read according to the typo rather than the intended meaning. Indeed "proving" would be absurd. The intended word was "providing," within the phrase "without providing what the qualifications are for people to judge for themselves."
 
Last edited:

parker25mv

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2016
Look, this type of question is extremely difficult to provide a truly accurate answer to, and there are many different directions from which one could try to approach it.

Probably no expert in any single field would really have ALL the answers, but I believe biochemistry is the most overall encompassing field to try to answer it.

Or you could talk to those with years of experience in the perfumery industry, and they could tell you they've never heard of anything in particular to be worried about here, with unexpected reactions between two different things and toxicology, but they would not really know for absolute certain.

I believe it is much easier to give general answers though.

Look, this probably means nothing to you, but I believe I'm a lot more qualified to tell you you probably have nothing to worry about here than I am qualified in the field of perfumery.
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
OK, you don't get my point.

I hope you will stop your long-repeated behavior in this regard but sometimes there is no guiding people in other directions than their long-chosen.

At this point I have to expect you will continue with more of the like, going on advising what materials to substitute when you have never smelled any of the materials you are talking about but only theorizing, thinking you are qualified to do so but are totally wrong, and giving the impression of being qualified rather than admitting it's utter speculation. Not one of which, btw, has ever been correct.

I had really hoped for better on your return, which I was genuinely glad to see, but now not so much as it looks like more of that bad pattern, which you had made some progress on.

That concludes what I have to say on that. It is a shame you cannot or will not agree on such a basic matter as invalid argument by claimed authority, or claim of being "qualified," without giving any actual qualifications whatsoever then or ever being not a good thing to do and causing problems.

If one can't agree on that then there is no genuine discussion on the matter, only empty back-and-forth, in my opinion anyway, and I do not continue with such once it's demonstrated to be that.
 

Latest News

Top