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Algeria: 'Deadly perfume' rumours are likely false

August 30, 2017 at 3:15 am

Image of perfume bottles [Vetiver Aromatics/Flickr]

The Algerian Ministry of Defence is thought to be behind a warning against purchasing and wearing a deadly perfume. The warning has been shared widely on social media.

Officials of the Ministry of Commerce have launched an investigation into the issue. Though similar rumours are widespread in other Arab countries.

The document claimed to be issued by the Algerian Ministry of Defence that dates back to 17 August and was posted by the Regional Directorate of the Military Health, which is affiliated with the first military district. It suggests that “available information suggests that the perfume is a poisonous substance with a delayed effect that appears after 3 or 4 days of spraying it on the body, resulting in sudden death.”

The document also unveiled that the “toxic perfume has been discovered in Arab and Islamic countries such as Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain, Sudan, and Kuwait”.

HuffPost Arabi was not able to confirm the Ministry of Defence’s responsibility for the paper that was widely circulating on social media networks, and that sparked people’s panic.

The statement encourages vigilance and awareness and warns against the “purchase or use” the perfume. It stressed that the work on raising awareness among individuals should focus on warning them of the risk of death and not sudden death to avoid causing panic to those who have already used it.

The Algerian Consumer Protection Association, a separate body, confirmed the truth of the information circulating about the deadly perfume.

On its official Facebook page, the association wrote that “after verifying the truth of the information, and because we are responsible enough as an organisation, we did not want to share the warning document unless official sources confirm the information. We ask all customers to stop purchasing the perfume ‘Relax’, and whoever uses it or owns the product should stop using it.”

It continued saying: “We confirm that there have not been any recorded deaths in Algeria because of the perfume. This is a precautionary measure and it is concerned with other Arabic and Islamic countries as well.”

Read: 3,000 cases of corruption recorded in Algeria since 2013

The Ministry of Commerce, on the other hand, was reluctant to comment on the story but immediately launched an investigation to gather more details regarding the circulating information about the toxic perfume that causes respiratory problems that could result in the death of its users.

The “perfume” case rather smells of “rumor” because the document has not been issued in the name of the Algerian National Ministry of Defense, but was issued in the name of the Regional Directorate of Military Health affiliated with the First Military District.

It said that the perfume targeted “Muslims” though this is unusual language, not common to statements issued by the Algerian Army.

The signature at the bottom of the document does not include a rank or a full name of the official responsible for issuing the warning, as is always the norm.

It is also noteworthy that the brand of the perfume “Relax” is strange to most people who spoke with HuffPost Arabi and even boutique owners that assured they have never dealt with this perfume brand. There are no official reports that prove the truth of an actual medical analysis that confirmed the danger of the use of this perfume on people’s health.