Fragrances what's the big deal? What are they? Why are they bad for us?
The immediate and long-term effects of being exposed to synthetic fragrance is hazardous to our health. Exposure to fragrances can trigger respiratory issues like coughing, sneezing shotness of breath and asthma, migraines, rashes not to mention the long term chronic issues like cancer and hormonal problems.
Toxic chemicals commonly found in products with “fragrance” on the ingredients list include acetone, phenol, toluene, benzyl acetate, limonene and formaldehyde. These chemicals and more are known neurotoxins, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, DNA mutagens, allergens, hepatotoxins and reproductive toxins all hidden under the one simple ingredient label - "fragrance".
If you went outside in the morning and took a big deep breath, chances are you would feel and smell something different to taking a big deep breath of "Morning Fresh" fragrance. Companies play on our desire for pleasant aromas, particularly to mask unpleasant ones.
Guess what! The manufacturers of beauty and cleaning products don’t have to disclose the hundreds of potential chemicals that could be used to make their fragrance, because they are considered “trade secrets”! That certainly doesn't sound right to us!
By using a pleasant smelling chemical on our bodies and in the air will not only affect our own health, but the health of the people (and pets!) who are breathing that air with us. Fragrance has been referred to as the new 2nd hand smoke. We all know now how bad 2nd hand cigarette smoke is now, but it took decades for that to become common knowledge and for changes to take place.
Fragrance is in everything these days, so they’re difficult to avoid. Have you walked into a public bathroom and been assaulted with an automatic air freshener? Have you had to duck and roll through a department store to avoid the perfume samples thrust at you? Do you hold your breath as you try to survive walking down the cleaning aisle at the supermarket? Once you become aware of them, you will see that we are surrounded by fragrances everywhere we go.
Products that usually contain “fragrance” chemicals include:
Nail polish and removers
Does this concern you? If it does you should look for products labeled “fragrance-free” or that simply don’t list “fragrance” on the ingredients list. Products labeled “unscented” can still contain artificial fragrances used to mask the smell of other noxious chemicals. Anytime you purchase a product with fragrances in it, you are telling the company to keep making it.
To have total control over whether products in your home have fragrances in them, try making your own! You may be surprised with how simple it is!
Homemade household cleaners consist of mainly bicarb soda, vinegar, citric acid, castile soap and essential oils and work better than just about any product on the market, are cheaper and non-toxic.
Body products can be made with staples like shea butter, beeswax, carrier oils, clays, aloe vera, and essential oils.
We have been conditioned over many years that we need to buy our products premade in the pretty packaging. We mistakenly believe it must be a difficult science to make products that work. This is far from the truth. Before cleaning and body products were made available mainstream, people would make their own at home, often over the kitchen bench and stove. They are often as quick as mixing a few products together in your hand or a bowl and that's it!
Once you have experienced the ease, simplicity and effectiveness of making your own products you may wonder why you haven't been doing it all along!
What are your favourite products to make for yourself?