The Dangers of Synthetic Fragrance
Updated: Jul 6, 2019
Instead of inhaling fresh air from outside, or therapeutic grade essential oils from a diffuser, you are instead inhaling man-made fragrance, called "synthetic fragrance". Next time you pick up that perfume, deodorant body spray, or air-freshener, that is made to smell like "mountain mist", you are instead getting a mist of chemicals, not the fresh mist from Mount Everest, that would cost you!
Why are these products toxic to spray on your body?
Think of your body like a sponge. Everything you put into it, and onto it, soaks in and runs straight to your bloodstream.
Why are these products toxic to spray in your home?
Spraying synthetic fragrance into your home environment is like setting your hair on fire. It harms you, the problem is, you just can't "see it". Instead, it burns your insides, including your lungs. You might be able to feel it, through the presence of a headache, red eyes, etc., unless your body has become so used to the presence of these things in your life, that it doesn't visibly react anymore. When I went chemical free over the course of my pregnancy, I realized that I felt better. Now, I am very sensitive to synthetic sprays such as perfumes, air mists, candles (YES CANDLES! These are considered synthetic- after all, they are man-made. Bath and Body Works no more. Cue tears). When these things are sprayed into the air around me, or I come in contact with another person that wears fragrance, hairspray, scented lotion, etc. I get an instant headache, because I no longer use them in my daily life. Imagine how it affects children. Babies and elders are especially susceptible to breathing problems, asthma, skin irritations, rashes, etc.
And worse, spraying synthetic fragrance into your home actually increases the VOC levels. You might as well be spraying propane into the air and breathing it in (which is actually an ingredient in Axe bodyspray). These chemicals, disrupt your endocrine system, and has been linked to cancer. A study completed in 2009, by the Environmental Working Group, found that teenage boys and girls are just as susceptible to hormone-disrupting chemicals, such as "phthalates" because of the harm that the chemicals wreak on their developing reproductive systems.
These popular body and home products are actually coating your body in synthetic fragrance. When the ingredient label reads, "fragrance", this means chemicals. Even if it says natural fragrance (ingredient labels must be read very carefully). As much as I want my home to smell like "Leaf" or "Fall Breeze" from Bath and Body works, no exposure to chemicals that can harm my health is worth it.
It contains propane (butane and isobutane are other common chemicals). These are used as propellants. It can affect your health by causing headaches, difficulty with breathing, or shortness of breath, and even mood swings or nausea. Like cigarette smoke, these propellants harm not only body spray users, but those around them, too.
It contains fragrance as well as BHT, or butyl hydroxytoluen, which is a fat soluble synthetic compound used to preserve foods and cosmetics, and is a known carcinogen. BHT is also present in jet fuel! This can cause allergies, contact dermatitis, and more. It also contains "parfum" which is a scary chemical because it doesn't break down, but instead stores itself in tissues, such as the skin and breastmilk. For all those mamas out there that think pregnancy is the only time to be careful of what you put into and on your body- think again!
Now this makes me very sad. My mom and I used to storm this store and stock up on candles about 3-4 times a year. Fall was the ultimate scent season. In the ingredients, it lists "fragrance", but nothing else. It doesn't tell you what chemicals make up the scent. They do have "natural" essential oil candles they just came out with, but these still contain toxic chemicals. Their candles are made of paraffin wax, which is toxic in of itself. The wicks can also contain toxins, and burn these into the air that you breathe.
4. Febreze Room Spray
Febreze is one of the most toxic things you can spray in your home, and even though it promises the sanitizing of air with a natural product, it does the exact opposite. Each form of febreze scores anywhere from a C to an F based on the Environmental Working Group ratings. It can cause allergies, asthma, respiratory distress, and just like Axe, contains propellants. EWG recommends to avoid air fresheners altogether, because all they do is "cover up bad odors". They mask their ingredient list very well (see it here) and their page even contains a picture of two very happy kids, that are breathing in synthetic and harmful, cancer causing fumes.
5. Scented Plug-ins
From simple wall plug-ins made by Glade, to fancier ones made from Yankee Candle, each contains a level of toxicity that you and your family shouldn't be breathing. According to a study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), up to a whopping 86% of air fresheners tested contained cancer-causing phthalates. These chemicals, which are also found in the majority of plastics, paints, pesticides, cosmetics, etc. and affect the reproductive system, and can be responsible for birth defects. Air fresheners can even contain toxic substances like...wait for it...formaldehyde! Yikes! I mean really, what kind of things are we breathing and putting on our bodies? The funny thing is, so much of this is regulated in the UK, and isn't allowed. But the U.S. continues to be more lenient on what is sold, and what it exposes consumers to.
So if this article isn't enough to make you want to throw out everything you own that contains toxic chemicals, I don't know what is. Knowledge is power, and ignorance is bliss. Detox your home environment, body, and it will change your life.