Photo by Sarah G
Perfumes and fragrances (usually derived from an artificial/chemical source) are used to scent a wide range of bath and body products such as perfume, cologne, aftershave, lotions, deodorant, makeup, hair care products, and baby care products. They are also used in household products like air fresheners, laundry detergents, candles, cleaning products – and the list goes on.
When “perfume” or “fragrance” is listed as an ingredient, it shouldn’t be confused with actual essential oils. Fragrances and perfumes are made from a wide variety of chemicals from formaldehyde to methylene chloride. The average perfume can contain over 800 ingredients, most of them toxic. By law, the ingredients in perfumes does not have to be listed.
Common side effects from perfumes are headaches and migraines, sneezing, watery eyes, sinus problems, anxiety, nausea, wheezing (especially in asthmatics), shortness of breath, inability to concentrate, brain-fog, dizziness, convulsions, sore throat, cough, chest tightness, hyperactivity (especially in children), tremor, fatigue, lethargy, and drowsiness.
The side effects from perfumes and artificial fragrances are so widespread and affects so many people, many companies now have a “scent free” policy in the workplace.
What can you do?
One way to avoid exposed to artificial fragrances is to read labels. If you see “fragrance” or “perfume”, chances are at least a few of the 800 toxic chemicals are used in this product. If you are looking for a scented product, look for products that are derived from natural sources such essential oils, botanical oils, flower water and resins.