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Allergenic fragrances in cosmetic products

 

Glossary over Allergenic fragrances in cosmetic products

Allergy

Allergies are inappropriate or exaggerated reactions of the immune system to substances that, in the majority of people, cause no symptoms.

Symptoms of the allergic diseases may be caused by exposure of the skin to a chemical, of the respiratory system to particles of dust or pollen (or other substances), or of the stomach and intestines to a particular food. (Source: ACAAI Allergy-Immunology Glossary  )

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Antioxidant

Any substance that prevents or reduces damage caused by free-radicals (highly reactive chemicals containing oxygen) which attack other molecules and modify their chemical structure.

Antioxidants are commonly used as preservatives in food or cosmetics. Well-known antioxidants include vitamins A, C, and E. (Source: GreenFacts)

Asthma

A usually chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways characterized by intermittent episodes of wheezing, coughing, and difficulty in breathing, sometimes caused by an allergy to inhaled substances. (Source: American Lung Association Appendix 4: Glossary  )

Eczema

Eczema or contact dermatitis is a skin disorder characterized by itching, scaling, thickening of the skin, usually located on the face, elbows, knees, and arms. The exact causes are still unknown, but an abnormal function of the immune system is believed to be a factor. There are several types of eczema, which can be triggered by various chemicals, environmental agents or psychological factors. Treatment is to keep the skin well hydrated. (Source: GreenFacts )

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Endpoint

A biological endpoint is a direct marker of disease progression - e.g. disease symptoms or death - used to describe a health effect (or a probability of that health effect) resulting from exposure to a chemical. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Enzyme(s)

A protein that encourages a biochemical reaction, usually speeding it up. Organisms could not function if they had no enzymes. (Source: NHGRI NHGRI Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms  )

Epidemiological studies

Studies on human populations, which attempt to link human health effects (e.g. cancer) to a cause (e.g. exposure to a specific chemical). (Source: GreenFacts)

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Erythema

Superficial reddening of the skin due to the dilatation of blood vessels. Erythema is often a sign of infection or inflammation and may be caused by sunburn. (Source: GreenFacts)

Formaldehyde

A colorless, pungent, and irritating volatile organic compound (VOC), with formula H2CO, used in manufacturing and chemical industries, and as a preservative by anatomists, embalmers, and pathologists. Potential sources in the home include pressed wood products such as particleboard or fiberboard, smoking, glues and adhesives, etc.

Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen. (Source: GreenFacts)

Free radical

A free radical is an atom or molecule that is highly reactive because it contains an unpaired electron in the outer shell.

Free radicals are formed as necessary intermediates in a variety of normal biochemical reactions, but can damage important cellular molecules such as DNA or lipids.

Radicals can have positive, negative or neutral charge. (Source: GreenFacts)

Genes

The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein. (Source: NHGRI Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms  )

Immune system

The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by “foreign” invaders. (Source: NIAID Immune System   )

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Inhalation

The act of breathing.

A hazardous substance can enter the body by inhaling an airborne substance or contaminant in the form of gas, fumes mists, vapors, dusts, or aerosols. Once inhaled, contaminants can be deposited in the lungs and/or transported into the blood. (Source: GreenFacts)

Isomers

Chemical compound that has the same molecular formula - the same number and kinds of atoms - as another compound, but a different structural arrangement of the atoms in space, and, therefore, different properties.

For example, graphite (pencil lead) and diamond are isomers of carbon. Both are composed of pure carbon, but have very different physical properties.

As the number of carbon atoms in a molecule increases, the number of possible combinations, or isomers, increases sharply. For example, octane, an 8-carbon-atom molecule, has 18 isomers; decane, a 10-carbon-atom molecule, has 75 isomers. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Lymphatic system

The tissues and organs that produce, store, and carry white blood cells that fight infections and other diseases.

This system includes the bone marrow, spleen, thymus, lymph nodes [small glands found along the vessels of the lymphatic system that filter out bacteria and other toxins, as well as cancer cells], and lymphatic vessels (a network of thin tubes that carry lymph and white blood cells). Lymphatic vessels branch, like blood vessels, into all the tissues of the body. (Source: NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms  )

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Metabolism

The conversion or breakdown of a substance from one form to another by an enzyme. (Source: GreenFacts, based on ATSDR Glossary of Terms )

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Molecule

A molecule is the smallest part of any chemical compound composed of two or more atoms and which has the qualities of that substance and can exist alone in a free state. As an example, a molecule of water (H2O) consists of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. (Source: GreenFacts, based on Helios Glossary   )

Mutation

Any permanent change in the DNA of a cell.

Mutations may be caused by mistakes during cell division, or they may be caused by exposure to DNA-damaging agents in the environment.

Mutations can be harmful, beneficial, or have no effect. If they occur in cells that make eggs or sperm, they can be inherited; if mutations occur in other types of cells, they are not inherited.

Certain mutations may lead to cancer or other diseases. (Source: NCI cancer.gov dictionary   )

Oxidizing agent

Any substance, such as oxygen (O2) or chlorine (Cl2), that will readily add (take on) electrons. The opposite is a reducing agent. (Source: US EPA Drinking Water Glossary   )

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Phthalates

Phthalates are a group of man-made chemicals that are structurally related to the organic acid, phthalic acid. The most important use of phthalates is in plastics, especially PVC, where they act as plasticisers. (Source: based on the GreenFacts Digest on phthalates)

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Protein

A large molecule composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order, formed according to genetic information.

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Respiratory tract

The organs that are involved in breathing.

These include the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. Also known as the respiratory system. (Source: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Glossary   )

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Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety

The SCCS provides opinions on questions concerning all types of health and safety risks (notably chemical, biological, mechanical and other physical risks) of non-food consumer products (for example: cosmetic products and their ingredients, toys, textiles, clothing, personal care and household products such as detergents, etc.) and services (for example: tattooing, artificial sun tanning, etc.). For further information on the SCCS, see:

http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/consumer_safety/index_en.htm 

Sensitization

In the context of allergies, sensitization is the process by which a person becomes, over time, increasingly allergic to a substance (sensitiser) through repeated exposure to that substance (Source: GreenFacts)

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Susceptibility

The likelihood of producing a significantly larger-than-average response to a specified exposure to a substance.

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