Since when I was a kid, strong synthetic scents made me feel sick, and it still does! It’s even worse than passive smoke.
Whenever my father got shaved, or I passed by the perfume store, or even near the aisle of the household cleaners at the grocery store, my head felt dizzy like I was drunk - not funny! Unfortunately for me, today I kinda got used to these horrible scents, so as the rest of the people on this planet does, I inhale thousands of chemical fragrances everyday, and forgot about these feelings.
Well, it turns out, as most of you already know, these perfumes contain petrochemicals that may have a terrible impact on our lungs and lives.
As the EWG reports, while many famous perfumes, colognes and body sprays contain small quantities of natural essences, they usually contain a dozen or more of potentially dangerous artificial chemical substances too, some of which is derived from petroleum. In order to protect trade secrets, makers are allowed to withhold the ingredients, so we can’t rely on labels to find out what danger may be hidden in that bottle we jealously store in our cabinet.
These fragrances are found in such a large number of beauty care products, skincare, cleaning products, and air fresheners as well. The tragic truth is that the majority of these products are marketed as scent-free but actually chemicals intended to mask their strong chemical smell or prevent our brains from identifying their odours.
One of these chemical which should be avoided most is diethyl phthalate, also known as DEP, and found in many cosmetics. It’s a solvent agent, used to help fragrances last longer and also help lotions penetrate the skin.
DEP is believed to alter the function of hormones. For example, phthalates may cause early puberty earlier in females and may decrease sperm count in males. Other health problems linked to phthalate are:
- Birth defects
- Breast cancer
- Autoimmune disorders
- Autism and ADHD from exposure in the womb
Even perfume ingredients which aren’t linked with altering hormone function may wreak havoc, by triggering allergic reactions, causing headaches and aggravating asthma.
This endocrine disruptor affects your endocrine system: adrenal, thyroid, pituitary, sex hormones, and more, just about everything in your body.
Other than phthalates, there are other dangerous ingredients in our perfumes and other chemically-made products. Below I will mention the most common ones, but keep in mind that there are many more and that you should avoid them like the plague.
- Aldehydes, linked to breathing issues according to doses.
- Toluene (methyl benzene), it affects the central nervous system, eyes, skin, respiratory system, liver, kidneys. Long term and repeated workplace exposure to toluene affect the central nervous system.
- Acetaldehyde, which creates a fruity scent, yet is a likely to cause cancer to humans.
- Acetonitrile, which can cause cerebral pains, tremors, weakness and numbness, nausea.
- Styrene oxide, can cause skin and eye irritation, depression, and liver diseases.
- Musk tetralin (AETT), appeared to cause cerebrum cell and spinal string degeneration.
A word about Natural products
Natural perfumes have been booming in the past few years because people are more aware of the health problems related to the toxins contained.
Unfortunately, not all the brands out there are equally ethical.
If you've been shopping at your local health food store, I’m afraid you may have been deceived. Several of the famous “organic” brands - supposed to be green and natural, have been caught using the dangerous fragrances mentioned above.
I’m not saying that all the companies are the same. Actually there are many more with healthy principle, so read the labels and see what really is in your products - you should always know what you are buying.
Here my way-to-go I’m sharing with you:
Read the label, make sure what you are buying is fragrance-free
Return any product containing phthalates, aldehydes, or any other chemical fragrance
Choose wisely, learn how to spot harmful ingredients, and find company that you can trust
How about DIY products?
This is my favourite option! There tons of recipes on the internet that can help you save money, and I’ve personally come up with several recipes for homemade soap, organic deodorant and toothpaste. Just be careful when you chose your raw ingredients, as said not all the companies can be trusted, so you may end up buying something containing the dangerous chemical fragrances.