Fragrance, the New Secondhand Smoke?

fragrance, the new second hand smoke

Love the smell of your favorite perfume or shampoo? Scents can be deceiving. There’s a good chance that while you are inhaling that luscious scent, you may actually be harming your body. Is fragrance the new secondhand smoke?

Check your health and beauty products, your household cleaners, laundry soap, dryer sheets, scented candles and air fresheners, even garbage bags. See the word “fragrance” or “parfum” listed in the ingredients?

By definition, the term “fragrance” indicates that it’s a synthetic scent, manufactured from petroleum or coal tar via a chemical processes1. Conversely, natural scents are called Essential Oils and are distilled from actual plants.

What the Perfume Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

Did you know the words “fragrance” and “parfum” are just euphemisms for “trade secret” fragrance recipes that do not have to be disclosed to the public or tested for safety2?

And they can be comprised of hundreds of synthetic chemicals3 selected from a pool of more than 4,0004 chemicals exempt by law. You will likely be hard-pressed to find products that don’t contain these ingredients.

According to a 2009 study by University of Maryland researchers Christy De Vader and Paxson Barker, called Fragrance in the Workplace is the New Second-Hand Smoke5, the issue with “fragrance” is not the scent itself, but the fact that it’s derived from petroleum and tar: “Only 800 of the approximately 4,000 chemicals used as fragrances have been tested for toxicity, either alone or in combination with others. These chemicals are so bad that the U.S. National Academy of Sciences has grouped fragrances with insecticides, heavy metals, and solvents as categories of chemicals that should be given high priority for neurotoxicity testing.”

Why Fragrance is the New Second Hand Smoke

It’s no wonder that fragrances and parfums have been called “The New Second Hand Smoke.” They are pervasive, everywhere you go from office buildings to airports, and friend’s houses to shopping malls you’re likely breathing in fragrances and parfums. Whenever I walk past a candle shop or bath and beauty shop in the mall, I feel bad for those kids working in those shops. Those scents are all toxic. You can’t get away from fragrance and parfum.

Recently I was in a public restroom at a resort hotel. Two young women were spraying themselves with perfume and hairspray in front of the mirror. I held my breath as I washed my hands and tried to get out of there as quickly as possible. As I opened the door to leave, another 20-something walked in and said “Ohhh, it smells SO YUMMY in here!” If only those girls had known that they were poisoning their bodies.

How Do Fragrance and Parfum Harm You?

Here are some of the side effects that can be caused by inhaling fragrances: exhaustion, weakness, “hay fever” symptoms, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, confusion, headaches, rashes, swollen lymph glands, muscle aches and spasms, heart palpitations, nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, asthma attacks (inability to breathe), neuromotor dysfunction, seizures, and even loss of consciousness – and those are the “good” side effects.6

So what are the bad side effects? These toxic fragrances and parfums also contain phthalates, known endocrine disruptors. And phthalates have been linked to diabetes, obesity, liver and breast cancer, and hormone disruption affecting fertility and development as well as being linked to ADHD and Autism.7

An article in the Huffington Post states, “Perfumes and fragrances are the single largest category of cosmetic and personal care products, especially hair, facial, and eye. These products represent nearly 50 percent of all prestige beauty dollars now spent in the US. Fragrances are also extensively used in a wide range of everyday household cleaning products.”

What Can You Do?

Sadly, the Perfume industry also has one of the strongest lobbyist groups, and they are fighting tooth-and-nail to ensure that they don’t have to disclose any of this information. The perfume business is BIG business, to the tune of over $30 Billion a year. You can fight back by putting your money where your mouth is. Once people realize the dangers and stop purchasing products containing these ingredients, the perfume industry will wake up.

And unfortunately, products labeled “unscented” or “fragrance-free,” can still contain “fragrance” or “parfum”. Why? Because the FDA doesn’t regulate the use of these words, and companies actually use masking-fragrances to “neutralize” a scent so they can call it “unscented.”

What About Unscented Products?

The ONLY way to be sure that your products are truly unscented, is to ensure that the words “fragrance” and “parfum” do not appear anywhere in the ingredients list. And there’s a lot of green-washing going on these days too. So products may say “with Essential Oils”, and sure enough, there are essential oils listed in the ingredients…but “fragrance” and “parfum” are listed as well.

My Challenge To You:

NYR Organic you’ve read this far, I know you care about your health and wellbeing. Do your body and future wellbeing a favor, read the labels on all your products, and ditch anything that contains “fragrance” and “parfum.”

Your Reward:

If you’re looking for truly organic products that contain zero fragrance or parfum or any other toxic chemicals I’d love to introduce you to Neil’s Yard Remedies Organic. Please Contact me to receive your free samples.

And leave a comment to let me know what you discovered when you read the ingredients lists on your favorite products?

1 Source:
2 Source:
3 Source:
4 Source:
5 Source:
6 Source:
7 Source:

Leave a Reply