Most people are unaware that the synthetic scents expose them to great danger. Most of the chemicals in synthetic fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum and include benzene derivatives, toluene, aldehydes and many other chemicals. These toxins can cause birth defects, allergic reactions, central nervous system disorders and even cancer.
Even nowadays, these toxic chemicals are still present in the products we use every day. They are found in shampoos, lotions, cleaning products and laundry detergents and are usually labelled as fragrances, but in fact they are nothing but suspected endocrine disruptors. These chemicals can affect hormones and thus trigger weight gain.
Make sure you avoid these synthetic “fragrances” because they hide thousands of different ingredients. When applied to the skin, these “fragrances” are easily absorbed right into the bloodstream.
The natural scents are encoded in our DNA as a way of finding mates and food, but such synthetic perfumes just harm our health. However, this article focuses on the man-made fragrances that emerged in the late 1800s. They could not only cause respiratory problems and allergies, but also dizziness, headaches, brain fog and nausea.
What Are Synthetic Fragrances?
Synthetic fragrances contain a mixture of allergens, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, respiratory irritants, environmental toxicants and neurotoxic chemicals. They can be found in most of the cosmetic products, body care products, cleaning materials, air fresheners and laundry detergents.
The Campaign for Safer Cosmetics claims that hair products are the most problematic ones. Almost 95% of the conditioners, shampoos and styling products are loaded with different artificial scents.
According to a research by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Environmental Working Group, in 17 product brands, there were found 14 chemicals. Unfortunately, none of them were listed on the label. What’s more surprising is that around 3,000 ingredients can be used to form a product’s scent.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, provided a list of different fragrance chemicals to which people are exposed every day.
The FDA does not require the cosmetics manufacturers to disclose what they exactly use in their products. Many of them claim that their formulas are proprietary and they don’t want other companies copy them.
So, you might probably wonder why companies still use synthetic fragrances in the products. The answer is very simple, these ingredients are cheaper.
Fake Fragrances: Expose People’s Lives to Risk
According to a study, published in 2016 by Anne Steinemann, a famous fragrance chemical researcher, these scent products greatly affect our lives. The results point out that 50% of the people would prefer fragrance-free health care facilities, airplanes, professionals and workplaces.
- Reported health problems after exposure to such scent fragrances include: 18% respiratory problems, 16% mucosal symptoms, 15% migraine headaches, 10% skin problems, 8% asthma attacks, 7% neurological problems, 5% cognitive problems, 5% gastrointestinal problems, 4% cardiovascular problems, 4% immune system problems, 3% musculoskeletal problems and 1% other problems.
- Scented laundry products vented outdoor include the following symptoms: breathing difficulties, headaches and other similar problems.
- Proximity to fragranced person: 23% of the reported health problems are result of being near to someone who is using a fragranced product.
- Trouble in public places: 17% of people reported that they are unable to use public toilets because of deodorized products and air fresheners. 14% are unable to use hand wash soap because it is fragranced and 22,7% are unable to go to some places because of scented products.
The US is ready to conduct a fragrance-free policy and this something that every local government, business or employer should strive for.
Serious Dangers of Synthetic Fragrances
The Breast Cancer Fund claims that the best way of preventing cancer is avoiding synthetic fragrances or scents. This is because the synthetic fragrances contain hormone-disrupting compounds and synthetic musks.
One particular substance is styrene, found in car exhaust and cigarette smoke but also in cleaning products and cosmetic sprays. If this substance is not labelled, the only way you can discover its presence is by using mass spectrometer or gas chromatograph.
This substance is one of the many artificial fragrances that leads to creation of cancer.
Phthalates are other type of chemicals that are labeled as fragrances. They can cause disruption of the endocrine system, developmental and reproductive toxicity and cancer. These substances are strongly prohibited from cosmetics in the EU, but such products are still produced and sold in the US. They are often labeled as “fragrance” or even DEHP, DEP and DBP. Make sure you avoid all of these labels.
Child Autism and Other Birth Defects
According to Dr. Philip J. Landrigan from the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center, the exposure to phthalates can lead to autism, neurological disorders and symptoms of ADHD. Pregnant women should be especially careful when it comes to such products because their ingredients can harm the developing fetus. Dr. Landrigan again stated that autism and some other conditions are result of the impact of environmental chemicals on the formation of the brain. If babies are exposed to these synthetic substances while still in the womb or after birth, they can significantly affect the brain development and leave a lifetime consequences.
According to a peer-reviewed study in 2010, published by the Environmental Health Perspectives, women with a higher level of these phthalates had children that were likely to display disruptive behavior. Unfortunately, these synthetic fragrances can accumulate in the human fat tissue as well as in the breast milk.
Toxic and Allergic Bodily Reactions
Fragrances and perfumes are one of the top 5 allergens. They can cause serious allergic reactions such as migraines, headaches, sinus irritation, difficulty breathing and many others. They can also trigger contact dermatitis, a type of allergic reaction. Recently, sinus problems, allergies, asthma and migraines have increased drastically. The experts claim that this is a result of the increased use of products that contain synthetic fragrances.
According to a study by the Archives of Environmental Health, fragrance products produce the same toxic effects in mammals. The emissions of these synthetic products caused: pulmonary irritation, nose, eyes and throat irritations, signs of neurotoxicity and decrease in airflow velocity when exhaling. This negative effect was even greater when the animals were subjected to repeated exposure to these products.
Asthma and Other Breathing Problems
If you suffer from asthma, you should avoid using any products that affect the way of breathing. Asthmatics usually suffer health symptoms when exposed to colognes, perfumes and other fragrance products that abound in artificial scents.
One particular study has analyzed asthmatic patients who have been exposed to cologne. These patients have experiences worsening symptoms due to the exposure of these scented substances. Their exhalation volume decline by 18 – 58% when they were exposed to cologne.
Synthetic scents greatly affect the normal way of breathing, especially if you are prone to breathing difficulties just like asthmatics. So, if you experience such breathing products make sure you use some completely fragrance-free products.
Better Alternatives to Dangerous Synthetic Fragrances
Fortunately, you can avoid using all those synthetic fragrances and help yourself and your family. There some options how to avoid the dangers of these harmful products, such as:
- Minimize the number of scented fragrances you use. All you need to do is freshen your air. You can simply control the natural odor by a bowl of white vinegar placed on the windowsill or countertop. It is important to clean the exact source of the odor not just covering the nasty smell.
- Make sure you avoid any products that contain parfum, fragrance, DEHP, DBP, DEP and phthalates.
- If you are looking for a scented product, choose the one that contains some essential oils.
- Certified organic products should be your choice because they are less likely to contain artificial fragrances. However, make sure you read the labels. Be careful of “linalool” and “limonene”.
- For fresh, natural scent in your office of home, use some fresh flowers, herbs or potted plants. According to the studies, houseplants are the best sources of fresh indoor air and they absorb all the toxic compounds from the air.
- Make some natural homemade cleaning products because they do not contain artificial scents.
- Always choose some laundry detergents that are fragrance-free or are scented with essential oils or just make some natural homemade laundry soap.
- If you are sensitive to smells or you avoid fragrances, look for unscented or fragrance-free products. Read the labels carefully because there may be some questionable ingredients that provide that “lack of scent”.
- As a candle, use beeswax and lead-free wick.
- Get some additional information about those products that are not completely labeled because sometimes the companies do not fully explain the true content of their products.
It is much better to buy some high quality, pure essential oil not only because they are cheap but they do not contain any synthetic fragrances. They are extremely concentrated. For example, a neroli essential oil is made from 1,000 pounds of handpicked oil and an orange tree. The completely natural properties of this essential oil provide an amazing floral and citrus scent. As we previously mentioned, these artificial scents can affect the health of the animals so make sure you avoid using them with pets.
Final Thoughts on the Dangers of Synthetic Scents
The main focus of this post is to emphasize the danger of using synthetic scents. So, it is much better to use some essential oils rather than all those fake smells. You have an endless list of scents that are really affordable.
So, choose those products that promote an overall health and are fragrance-free. Pregnant women should be especially careful when it comes to such artificial products because they can harm the baby’s development.
Also, make sure you read all the products’ labels, especially the scented ones. If you suffer from asthma or breathing problems, you will notice a significant difference when you remove all those scented fragrances. You will definitely experience more health effect that might be less obvious in the beginning, but later on there would be less chronic health problems.
So, remove all those artificial fragrances and look for some flower in the very moment to feel the true difference between them.