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Dangers of Artificial Fragrances

Are you aware of the dangers associated with the use of synthetic fragrances? Did you know that perfume is made of a cocktail of toxic chemicals that can put your health at serious risk? More than 4000 chemicals are used in synthetic fragrances and 95 percent are derived from petroleum. There is no agency that regulates the fragrance industry and the only thing that is required to appear on a label is ‘fragrance’ or ‘aroma’. Some of the toxic chemicals that are found in fragrances are: formaldehyde, limonene, acetone, toluene, ethanol, benzene derivatives, methylene chloride, and many more that are KNOWN to cause birth defects, cancer, nervous system damage, infertility, and other health risks. These chemicals have been found in fatty tissue & breast milk.

The Environmental Working Group found some surprising results after conducting a study specifically on fragrances, colognes and perfumes. Here’s what they found:

  • 16% of the products they reviewed contained ingredients that may cause cancer.
  • 5% may contain harmful impurities linked to cancer or other health problems.
  • 18% contained penetration enhancers that increase exposures to carcinogens and other ingredients of concern.
  • 98% of products contained ingredients not assessed for safety in cosmetics or with insufficient data.
  • 76% contained ingredients that are allergens.
  • 13% of products posed other potential health concerns

I personally feel the effects that these chemicals can have on the body. I cannot wear or be exposed to many perfumes or artificially scented body care products without immediately feeling sick, getting a headache and sometimes my eyes burn. Other symptoms of scent sensitivity are dry throat and eyes, sneezing and stuffy nose, dizziness, nausea, difficulty breathing, tingling in the lips or arms and skin reactions. Just because you are not sensitive to a perfume or fragrance, it does not mean that you aren’t experiencing health dangers. If you are using scented products and you aren’t sick from the chemical exposure, do you really want to gamble on how much longer your body has before it can no longer cope with the formaldehyde and other poisons found in these scents?

If you feel you need to wear some sort of fragrance why not try using natural essential oils?  These are oils that are extracted from plants by way of steam distillation and are used in aromatherapy. Because they are very concentrated you must dilute your essential oils in a carrier oil (such as sweet almond or olive) before applying to your skin. Some common essential oils are lavender, rose absolute, ylang ylang, patchouli, & sandlewood. There are many other uses for essential oils such as placing a few drops in your bath water or using an essential oil diffuser instead of the ‘plug ins’ to add fragrance to your home. They are also much cheaper than perfume and will last a very long time. But most importantly they are not toxic to your body or the environment!!

Note: it is still possible to have an allergy to an essential oil just like it is possible to have an allergy to a plant. Always do your research on the essential oils you wish to use and be sure to test diluted EO’s on your skin before use