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For Immediate Release: September 28th, 2010
Contact:  Stephenie Hendricks, 415-258-9151, stephdh@earthlink.net; Stacy Malkan, 202-321-6963, stacy@safecosmetics.org; Judi Shils, 415-378-0504, judishils@earthlink.net

Abercrombie & Fitch: Stop Spraying Toxic Fragrance!

Teens, Parents, Nurses Demand Halt to Toxic Spraying in Stores

San Francisco - Teenagers from Teens Turning Green are leading more than two dozen groups including parents, environmental health advocates, women’s and medical organizations in demanding that Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE-ANF) stop spraying its signature fragrance Fierce inside and outside its stores.

Emily Packer, co-president of Teens Turning Green explains, “We’re calling for protests at A&F stores with actions planned today in several cities. Teens don’t want to be in or around stores that are polluted with chemicals that can make people sick.”

A recent report by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics revealed that A&F’s Fierce contains 11 secret chemicals that are not listed on the label; eight sensitizing chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions such as headaches, wheezing, asthma and contact dermatitis; and high levels of a hormone-disrupting chemical that may harm male reproductive health.

The teens and many other groups, including Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, MomsRising, American Fertility Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, AllergyKids and the State Nurses Associations of Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York – together representing 1.5 million members – sent a letter today to A&F CEO Mike Jeffries raising concerns about the health effects of the company’s practice of frequently spraying its stores, clothing and spaces outside its stores with fragrance.

“Abercrombie & Fitch owes it to its 10,000 workers and customers in 300 stores nationwide to stop spraying toxic chemicals in the air with no notification or consent,” said Lisa Archer, national coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at the Breast Cancer Fund.

“More than 30 percent of the general population reports breathing difficulties, headaches and other problems from fragranced products,” said Anne Steinemann, Ph.D., Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Public Affairs at University of Washington, and author of a peer-reviewed study on fragrance sensitivity.

The Campaign’s testing also revealed that Fierce contained diethyl phthalate at 3,500 parts per million. Recent human studies link diethyl phthalate to sperm damage in adult men, abnormal reproductive development in baby boys and neurological disorders in children.

“It’s ironic and disturbing that A&F markets itself with images of ‘manly men’ and yet is spraying chemicals that may actually cause sperm damage and other problems,” said Lauren Pey of Teens Turning Green.

“The fragrance problem is a good example of why we need laws that protect public health from toxic chemicals in cosmetics,” Lisa Archer added.

The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010, introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives on July 20 by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), would require companies to disclose the chemicals in fragrance, phase out the most hazardous chemicals and ensure cosmetic ingredients are assessed for safety.

About the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a national coalition of nonprofit women's, environmental, public health, faith and worker safety organizations. Our mission is to protect the health of consumers and workers by securing the corporate, regulatory and legislative reforms necessary to eliminate dangerous chemicals from cosmetics and personal care products. www.safecosmetics.org

About Teens Turning Green

Teens Turning Green is a student led movement devoted to education and advocacy around environmentally and socially responsible choices for individuals, schools and communities. We seek to promote global sustainability by identifying and eliminating toxic exposures that permeate our lives, and threaten public and environmental health. The TTG chapters lead grassroots efforts that aim to raise awareness, encourage behavior change and lobby for policy that will lessen local and global impact. www.teensturninggreen.org

Resources for Reporters

Letter from Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to Abercrombie & Fitch, Sept. 27, 2010 (PDF)

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics fragrance report, "Not So Sexy." (2010).

Science review of diethyl phthalate (from "Not So Sexy")

Caress SM, Steinemann AC (2009). Prevalence of Fragrance Sensitivity in the American Population. Journal of Environmental Health, 71(7), 46-50.