Bath & Body Works is one of the top personal care and home fragrance brands in the world. The retail chain is most known for its soaps, lotions, fragrances, and seasonal candles.
In 2021, some social media posts on TikTok and Facebook claimed certain Bath & Body Works products contain ingredients that may be harmful to consumers, including pregnant people and unborn children. Both posts included a screenshot or link to a Bath & Body Works safety data sheet for one of its products, a refill for a home fragrance device known as a wallflower.
“Bath & Body Works has a 13-page document on how harmful their wallflower plugins are… It even says it could cause damage to your organs and unborn child right on the sheet,” the Facebook post read.
VERIFY viewer Jessica asked us if these claims are true.
Are Bath & Body Works products harmful to pregnant people?
No, Bath & Body Works products are not harmful to pregnant people.
WHAT WE FOUND
Bath & Body Works told VERIFY the safety data sheet shared in the now-viral social media posts is a legitimate document that the company is required to post on its website. It is not intended for consumers, and as such, was misinterpreted and taken out of context in these social posts.
“Companies post these sheets to assist manufacturing and emergency personnel who need to know how to handle large quantities of chemicals in industrial settings. The very small quantities of fragrance ingredients used in products mean consumer exposures are extremely low,” the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM), a nonprofit that evaluates fragrance materials through safety assessment and research programs, said in a statement.
A Bath & Body Works spokesperson explained that safety data sheets are a standard practice in the home fragrance and consumer products industry. They are posted online to “assist manufacturing companies and emergency personnel who need to know how to handle, store or dispose of large quantities of chemicals in industrial and manufacturing.”
“Every Bath & Body Works product undergoes extensive review to ensure safety. Safety data sheets, like the one in the social media post, do not reflect the safety of products when used as directed,” the spokesperson said.
VERIFY also reached out to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) about the claim that Bath & Body Works products may be harmful to pregnant people. The organization said the “claim is false and is not grounded in science.”
“The spread of medical misinformation, myths, and fallacies is harmful for patients,” Christopher M. Zahn, M.D., chief of clinical practice and interim chief of health equity and quality for ACOG said. “Misinformation creates unnecessary fear, stokes confusion, and distracts from actual danger. People seeking information about their health online should refer only to reliable sources.”
Bath & Body Works says it encourages pregnant people who may have concerns about its products “to consult a doctor if they have specific questions.”
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