As reported by National Academy of Sciences, up to 95% of chemicals found in synthetic fragrances are obtained from petroleum. They include toluene, aldehydes, and other toxic chemicasl which are associated with cancer, allergic reactions, central nervous system disorders, and birth defects. Sadly, these toxic ingredients keep turning up in products we use daily, including shampoos lotions, cleaning products, and laundry detergents. The worst part is that these synthetic ingredients are typically labeled as “fragrance”, despite the fact that they are nothing more but endocrine disruptors. It is important to understand that using a product containing “fragrance”, allows the ingredients to get absorbed into the bloodstream and eventually wreak havoc in the system.
This article focuses on man-made fragrances which appeared on the market in the late 1800s. Apart from the short-term side effects like headaches, dizziness, nausea, brain fog, allergies, and respiratory issues, synthetic scents are associated with a wide range of long-term effects, too.
What Are Synthetic Scents?
Synthetic scents or “fragrance” represent an unidentified mixture of ingredients including carcinogens, allergens, respiratory irritants, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxic chemicals and environmental toxicants. These artificial scents can can be found in all kinds of body care and cosmetic products, as well as air fresheners, cleaning materials and laundry detergents. According to the Campaign for Safer Cosmetics, hair products are especially problematic. More than 95 percent of shampoos, conditioners and styling products contain fragrance as an ingredient. You’ll agree that we all want our hair to smell good, but we could do without the use of toxic ingredients.
Research conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found an average of 14 chemicals in 17 name brand fragrance products. But it doesn’t stop there — none of these chemicals were actually listed on the label.
In general, there at least 3,000 ingredients that could possibly be used to form a product’s scent. That’s according to the online “Transparency List” put out by the International Fragrance Association, an industry trade group. We encourage you to take a look at the following list, derived from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, to see just how many fragrance chemicals we’re possibly exposed to every day.
As unbelievable as it seems, the FDA doesn’t require fragrance makers to reveal what they are exactly using to scent their products. This makes us wonder why would they hide the facts if they are using natural ingredients, doesn’t it? The answer to the question why are these companies using synthetic scents is very simple, though. Synthetic scents are extremely cheaper and versatile, giving the desirable scent to products of all kinds.
FAKE FRAGRANCES: MAKING PEOPLE’S LIVES MISERABLE
According to a 2016 study published by chemical researcher Anne Steinemann, PhD, up to 50% of the population prefer fragrance-free workplaces, hotels, and airplanes. Below you have a list of the side effects associated with scented products. Check it out!
1. Overall reported health problems after exposure to fake fragrance
The most common symptoms include:
– 3% musculoskeletal problems
– 4% immune system problems
– 4% cardiovascular problems
– 5% gastrointestinal problems
– 5% cognitive problems
– 7% neurological problems
– 8% asthma attacks
– 10% skin problems
– 15% migraine headaches
– 16% mucosal symptoms
– 18% respiratory problems
Overall, 34% of the population reported at least one of the adverse effects from exposure to fragranced products.
2. Scented laundry products vented outdoors
12% reported symptoms from the scent of laundry products from a dryer vent such as breathing difficulties and headaches.
3. Proximity to fragranced person
Nearly 23% reported health issues from being near a person wearing a scented product.
4. Trouble in public places
17% reported a problem for being unable to use public toilets due to the scented product, air freshener, or deodorizer. Nearly 14% say they are unable to wash hands with soap, suspecting the soap is scented.
SERIOUS DANGERS OF SYNTHETIC SCENTS
As reported by the Breast Cancer Fund, avoiding synthetic scents is the key to preventing cancer. The National Academy of Sciences published a 2011 finding showing that styrene is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” based on “compelling evidence.”
Unfortunately, styrene is not the only ingredient associated with cancer being used to create fragrance. Phthalates are also often disguised as scent and are widely used besides the fact that they are linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and endocrine disruption.
2. Asthma & Other Breathing Difficulties
People suffering from asthma often experience health symptoms when exposed to scented products like perfumes and colognes. According to a study which studied the history of worsening asthma symptoms after being exposed to cologne, the exhalation volume of the patients dropped by 15 to 58%.
3. Allergic & Toxic Bodily Reactions
Fragrances are one of the major allergens in the world, causing symptoms like migraines, headaches, sinus irritation, dermatitis, and difficulty breathing. Over the past few years, the health reports indicate that allergies and similar symptom have skyrocketed, probably due to the increased use of fragrances.
4. Child Autism & Other Birth Defects
According to a research done by Dr. Philip J. Landrigan of the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center, fetal exposure to phthalates is linked to autism, symptoms of ADHD and neurological disorders.
What`s more, Dr. Landrigan added that he is “increasingly confident that autism and other ailments are, in part, the result of the impact of environmental chemicals on the brain as it is being formed.” He also says, “The crux of this is brain development. If babies are exposed in the womb or shortly after birth to chemicals that interfere with brain development, the consequences last a lifetime.
Better Alternatives to Dangerous Synthetic Scents
– Look for laundry detergent which is scented with essential oils or make your own homemade laundry soap
– Make your own homemade cleaning products
– Use houseplants to purify and scent the air as well as to remove pollution from toxic products
– Buy certified organic products
– Avoid products that list fragrance, parfum, phthalate, DEP, DBP, or DEHP as an ingredient
– Freshen the air naturally by placing a bowl of vinegar white vinegar your countertop or windowsill to aid in natural odor control