Most of us love the smell of our favorite season. Floral scents in the Spring, Fruits and Coconut during the Summer, Spices and maybe pumpkin pie near Thanksgiving usually brings a smile and Peppermint, Cranberry or Vanilla warms your home and senses while the chilly weather whirls outside. But do you know what is in all of those chemically scented candles and sprays or plug in diffusers? synthetic fragrances, even oils claiming to be ‘Essential’ may be essentially harming your respiratory and nervous system, causing allergic reactions, birth defects and even cancer.
The thousands chemicals that make up the mysterious “fragrances” on the ingredient labels of household products and cosmetics can contain carcinogens, endocrine disrupters, neurotoxin chemicals and be absorbed into your body regardless of age. The dangers of these synthetic scents can create symptoms such as lightheadedness, headaches ad nausea.Avoiding the dangers of synthetic scents
By K. Kuecha Aromatherapist/Skin Care Chemist
About 95% of the chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum. Aldehydes, Benzene derivatives Toluene and many other known toxic chemicals are linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer endocrine and nervous system disorders, as pointed out by A National Academy of Sciences. Some of the worst toxic ingredients used in air fresheners, cleaning products, candles, lotions, shampoos and more include synthetic scents, often listed on labels as “fragrance’ or “parfum”. The suspected compounds can trigger health issues related to weight gain, hormonal health and other diseases showing up decades later.
Thousands of ingredients can be grouped into the catch-all term “fragrance” and application of a products containing such allows the absorbtion of these mysterious, potentially toxic, ingredients into your bloodstream. According to the Campaign for Safer Cosmetics, hair products are particularly problematic, finding an average of 14 chemicals in more than 95% of name brand products, which were not listed on the labels, other than “fragrance”. When applied to a warm damp scalp, in a hot steamy shower or bath the potential for absorption is greatly magnified. Headache, dizziness, nausea, dermatitis, allergies and confusion are just a few of the side effects than can be caused from exposure to synthetic toxins.
Tips for avoiding synthetic scents:
- Clean up any source of foul odor rather than masking it with sprays.
- Try white vinegar and lemon oil for kitchen odors, vinegar and eucalyptus/mint for the bathroom.
- Do not assume “Natural” means truly natural – Read product lable and avoid “parfum, phyhalate, DEP, DBP or DEHP, limonene, linalool”
- Buy organic products when possible, they are less likely (but not always) to contain synthetic scents.
- Fresh cut flowers, herbs and potted plants provide fresh natural scent to your home or office and may help clean toxic compounds in the air.
- Buy fragrance-free or products scented with True Essential Oils, using caution to still read the label for other questionable ingredients.
- Burn lead-free bees wax candles, and maintain fresh air intake as any form of combustion causes particulate pollution.
- If a company does not provide information on scents, it is best to avoid their products.
- Use caution when choosing pet products as well, their systems can be equally sensitive to synthetic scents.
High quality True 100% Pure Essential Oils are not cheap, like synthetic scents, but for good reason. It can take 1,000 pounds of flowers from an plant to produce Rose Absolute Essential Oil. With dozens of readily available Essential Oils to choose from and when blended they produce hundreds of wonderful aromas why would you want to choose anything, but what Mother Nature has provided. Be sure to choose your oils from a reputable source, due to the popularity of Essential Oils in recent years there are unscrupulous businesses out trying to make a quick dollar selling inferior oils. As with many quality ingredients, you really get what you pay for and the highest quality will benefit you in the end.
Throw away those synthetic scents, go outside and smell the fresh air, blooming flowers or budding trees. Become a savvy shopper and choose your Skin & Body Care, Laundry & Cleaning Supplies, Home & Office Scenting carefully. If you currently use synthetic scents and have skin or respiratory issues, you are likely to notice a big difference when you remove the fake fragrances from your life while hopefully decreasing your chances of chronic issues down the road.