Materia Medica Malaysiana

August 27, 2003


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:02 am aromatherapy burners dangerous, agency says

I notice that Aromatherapy is becoming another “fad” (as usual with little evidence based backing) in Malaysia. This news snippet from Taiwan should hopefully throw some caution into those who practice aromatherapy.


Following a spate of reports on shoddy aromatherapy oil burners exploding while in use causing injury and death, the Cabinet-level Consumer Protection Commission yesterday warned the public of the potential danger of the so-called therapeutic products.

Recent incidents involve the same design of aromatherapy diffusers similar in shape to alcohol burners but filled with aromatic oil diluted with isopropanol, a highly flammable and poisonous liquid. The diffuser ignites the concoction and is different in principle to oil vaporizes that heat the essential oil to release the aroma.

The Cabinet has assigned the Department of Health to be responsible for oversight and supervision of aromatherapy-related goods.

At a press conference held yesterday afternoon, Huang Horng-chyuan, Consumer Protection Commission spokesman said the government did not plan to prohibit the use of aromatherapy burners, but did pledge to conduct further inspections to be carried out under the DOH and Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Huang said as many aromatherapy goods producers claim their products possess therapeutic qualities. The Consumer Protection Commission considers the DOH as more suitable than other departments to investigate aromatherapy related goods. According to the Consumer Protection Law the CPC has the authority to assign a relevant government department to supervise trading activity.

“If any product is claimed to have therapeutic qualities by the seller then the DOH should actively initiate the inspection of these products, and should also ask MOEA and other related department to analyze the veracity of the claim,” said Huang.

“With regard to issues of safety of the aromatherapy burner and the quality of the aromatic oil, the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection under the MOEA will publish its findings in thirty days,” added Huang.

If the product after analysis did possess therapeutic qualities then the DOH would assume responsibility for supervision, Huang told the Taiwan News. However, if the claim proves to be erroneous, the DOH and Fair Trade Commission ought to invoke the Pharmaceutics Affairs Law and Fair Trade Law to punish the seller or producer.

With reference to specific claims made by a local social welfare foundation that alleges the inferior aromatherapy products exploded in 10 separate incidents, Huang said the CPC responded appropriately and had coordinated the DOH, MOEA and Taipei City Government to inspect the two dealers accused by consumers.

To date the official said the inspectors had found the two dealer’s product had violated the Pharmaceutic Affairs Law and Merchandise Label Law through inaccurately describing their merchandise and will mete out punishment, although he failed to provide details.

According to its spokesman the CPC has also ordered all local authorities to launch inspection of aromatherapy products sold in their jurisdiction. Violators of the Pharmaceutic Affairs Law and Consumer Protection Law will be given 30 days to rectify any breach.

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