Did you know that 95% of fragrance ingredients are petroleum-based? And did you know you can be exposed to fragrances not just through direct contact, but also through the fragrance oil droplets constantly released into the air by other people’s fragranced products? These fragrance oil droplets stick to every surface they contact, including people, furnishings and food. This is why if you don’t wear fragranced products and go to a place where fragranced products are used, you will smell them on you when you return home.
So why are fragrances so bad? Fragrances can be skin allergens, irritants and photosensitizers, causing eczema, dry skin, cracking and itching, and eye irritants causing dryness, itchiness, and burning and redness. They can worsen respiratory illnesses, cause headaches and migraines, interrupt with our bodies’ hormone production, suppress our immune system, and cause kidney and liver damage.
And unfortunately we often don’t know what specific fragrance ingredients are used in products. In addition to the “product base” mixture, a single “fragrance” in a product may contain up to several hundred substances among the 2600+ substances (natural and synthetic) documented as fragrance ingredients!
You can protect yourself and your family by carefully reading the ingredient list on the products you purchase and avoid those that have fragrance included on the list. Fragrances can be found in a range of household products, including:
- Laundry products – detergents, dryer sheets and fabric softener
- Personal care products – soaps, hand sanitizers, lotions, deodorant, shampoo, and baby shampoo)
- Cleaning supplies – household and industrial cleaning supplies, disinfectants, and dish detergents
- Air fresheners – sprays, gels, solids, and deodorant disks
Some recent news has also made me feel more optimistic about the future of fragrance ingredient transparency. Procter & Gamble recently started disclosing their fragrance ingredients! Yes, it’s a little late and it will only be online, but it’s still great news nonetheless! Particularly considering that they are the world’s largest maker of both household cleaning and personal care products. Hopefully this is a turning point and other manufacturers will follow suit in the near future.
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