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A Bath & Body Works safety data sheet includes warnings about skin irritation, infertility and organ damage. These disclosures aren’t new or limited to Bath & Body Works. Home fragrance companies are required to post these notices on their websites.
The disclosures are meant for manufacturers and emergency workers — not consumers — who need to know how to handle, store or dispose of large quantities of chemicals, the company said.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists told PolitiFact that it doesn’t have any official recommendation about pregnant women not using Bath & Body Works products. People who are pregnant should speak to their doctors if they have questions about any product.
It can feel nerve-wracking to navigate the world while pregnant. There are loads of rules and recommendations on what you can and can’t consume, activities you can and cannot do.
So when social media posts pop up that claim popular products like fragrance mists or lotions can cause fertility issues, it’s easy to panic. But is it warranted?
"Did you know that Bath & Body Works products are actually not recommended to use while pregnant?" one April 18 post shared on Facebook begins. "Neither did I because I never thought to read their safety data sheets. Straight from their safety data sheet it reads and I quote, ‘suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child’ and, ‘may cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure.’"
The post links to a safety data document for the company’s Winter Candy Apple home fragrance refill.
"The products that have been … glorified FOR YEARS because ‘they smell good’ or, ‘they have the best candles’ have a warning label that could harm an unborn child, a woman’s hormones AND their organs?" the user asked.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) It appears to be a spin-off of claims about the company’s products that first appeared on TikTok in January.
The document does include warnings about skin irritation, infertility and organ damage, but these types of disclosures aren’t new or limited to Bath & Body Works, and they aren’t aimed at typical consumer use.
In order to sell products in certain states, home fragrance companies are required to put these types of disclosures on their websites.
But the safety warnings are not intended for consumers, Bath & Body Works told PolitiFact. They are meant for large manufacturers and first responders in case they come into contact with large vats of a chemical or product.
"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 company said in an emailed statement to PolitiFact. "Bath & Body Works posts these sheets 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 settings.
"As with any product a customer may use during pregnancy, we encourage them to consult a doctor if they have specific questions," the company added.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists told PolitiFact that it doesn’t have any official recommendation about pregnant women not using Bath & Body Works products.
Dr. Christopher M. Zahn, the organization’s chief of clinical practice and interim chief of health equity and quality, called the claim false and lamented how medical misinformation like this can create unnecessary fear and confusion.
"Just because information is online or on social media doesn’t mean that it is true, or based on any reliable medical evidence," Zahn said. "It is a sad reality that some people intentionally disseminate false information or simply decide to share unproven medical allegations without confirming the truth."
A Facebook post claims that Bath & Body Works products are not recommended to use while pregnant and points to warnings of infertility and organ failure.
While the warnings do appear in a company safety data document, there is no official recommendation for pregnant women to not use Bath & Body Works products. The disclosures aren’t aimed at consumers, the company said, and are typical and required for home fragrance companies. The purpose of safety sheets is to assist manufacturers and emergency personnel who need to know how to handle, store or dispose of large quantities of chemicals.
We rate this claim False.
Facebook post, April 18, 2022
Bath & Body Works, SAFETY DATA SHEET Bath & Body Works Wallflowers Home Fragrance Refill Winter Candy Apple, Nov. 11, 2019
Email interview, Bath & Body Works media relations, April 21, 2022
Email interview, Kate Connors spokesperson at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, April 21, 2022
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