What’s That Smell?

Is Fragrance HarmfulDo the intoxicating scents of popular perfumes, cleansers, and personal care products sometimes take your breath away? Although some of these items may smell lovely at first, they just might permanently take your breath away, since the ingredients in fragrance can be extremely harmful to your health. Take steps to incorporate non toxic fragrance in your home and personal products since chemically added fragrances found in food, beverages, cleaners and personal products have long been linked to cancer, allergies, hormone disruption and all sorts of other problems.

Is Fragrance Harmful to Your Health?

In a word, yes. Fragrances are often used to cover up the bad odors from chemicals found in cologne, perfume, food additives, deodorant, makeup, shampoos, cleaners, soap, fabric softeners, air fresheners, candles, scented toilet paper, shower gels, and other products. Types of chemicals used in fragrances often include benzyl benzoate, diethyl phthalate, and tonalide.


Experts have found that damaging side effects of various scents in personal care products continue long after the sweet, spicy or flowery smells have faded. Products infused with fragrance can cause problems such as allergies, bad moods, fatigue, watery eyes, asthma, coughing, dermatitis, eczema, headaches, wheezing, sneezing, and can even alter sexual desire.

Contact allergies caused by fragrances touching your skin can cause symptoms like rashes, bumps, blisters. Since experts have determined that 65% of what is placed on your skin is absorbed by your body, it’s wise to avoid putting any fragrance substances directly on your skin unless you know for sure that it is not harmful.

Certain inhaled chemical fragrances can even make it difficult for some people to breathe. They can irritate airways and can change lung function and lead to inflammation.  A different peer-reviewed study revealed 100% absorption for fragrance ingredients, so it’s wise to avoid breathing chemical laced fragrances if you can help it.

People who already suffer from health problems are particularly at risk to problems with fragrances. However, even if someone doesn’t have a problem right now, symptoms can  develop over time because a body can develop become more sensitive to fragrance inflammation over time.

Good Green Habits for Non Toxic Fragrance For Home

Since your cupboards and cabinets are probably filled with products that contain  fragrances, it can be difficult to determine which one is causing the problem. And, since your body can react slowly and/or over time, fragrance in soap, deodorant, or clothing can be as much of a problem as perfume applied directly.You can still have pleasant scents in your home and personal care products, since there are many natural alternatives.  Here are some ideas to help get you started:

Don’t wear perfume or cologne on a daily basis. If you must wear it, only wear it on special occasions.  And instead of putting it directly on your skin, lightly spray it on the inside of your clothing. (Something to ponder:  If spraying it directly on your clothing can stain or spot your clothing, how can it be good for your body?)  A person’s natural scent has been found to be more seductive and personal anyway. Your dog who adores how you smell!

Avoid product fragrances.  Read labels, buy and use non-fragrance cleaners and personal products as much as possible.

Use your nose.  The stronger and  more “fake” it smells to you, the more likely it’s a cover for chemicals.

Reduce exposure. Decide what you can and cannot live without. You may be surprised at how many scented products you’re using that have absolutely no meaning to you.  You may find you can easily cut back on products with fragrance.

Read ingredients labels. Look for perfumes or essential oils derived from bark, flowers, fruits, seeds leaves and other non-toxic sources. These natural scents and fragrances may only last a few of hours, but they won’t pose the health risks associated with synthetic fragrances. However, remember that extremely sensitive individuals may find botanical extracts can also cause reactions, so proceed with caution.

Be Considerate of Others.  Even if you may not have problems with fragrances right now, someone you’re around could have serious issues with strong odors and fragrance.  What smells good to you may not smell good to them and it may cause health problems for them.  With more and more businesses adopting fragrance free policies in the workplace, people are beginning to understand the dangers of fragrance at work and at home.



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