Author’s Blog
15th Jun

2017

Are Fragrances Making Us Sick?

shutterstock_330844826Have you ever passed someone on the street and smelled the scents coming off their clothes and their bodies?

Do you feel light-headed, nauseated or headachy, or can you actually “taste” the scent when someone is wearing perfume, a perfumed lotion or hair product? Well, you are certainly not alone. It is estimated that 30.5% of the general population find scented products irritating and 19% report adverse health effects from air fresheners.

I have discussed artificially scented personal care products and cleaning and laundry products before, but it’s worth repeating.

Artificially scented products can contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals, neurotoxins and carcinogens that you breathe into your lungs or absorb through your skin. With a little research on healthy products and careful attention to labels, these harmful chemicals can be avoided altogether, without sacrificing your desire to wear personal care products.

But, what do we look for? First, any product that lists “fragrance” on their label should be considered suspect. If there is no further explanation of the fragrance contained in the product, such as “fragrance derived from essential oils,” then you should steer clear. A single artificial scent can be composed of over a hundred petroleum–based chemicals in addition to phthalates, chemicals famously known for their potent endocrine-disrupting properties.

Phthalates make scents last longer. Almost forever, when it is a component of a laundry detergent or dryer sheet. Have you ever noticed that clothing, bedding and towels never lose that artificial scent? Thank the phthalates.

It’s not funny for people who suffer from these exposures. Health effects range from skin irritation to asthma attacks, allergic reactions to eye problems. Problems that don’t go away. Many doctors are unaware of the potential effects of personal care products containing fragrances, so often they prescribe a drug to deal with the symptoms when all you have to do is stop using the product!

Look for products that are fragrance-free, or those that contain an essential plant oil that has a light scent. These products are considerably less likely to cause anyone near you discomfort. Institutions and schools, concert halls and health centers are choosing to be fragrance-free zones. Make your home and workplace fragrance-free too, and eliminate one of the more troublesome chemical exposures of everyday life.

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