I implore you to become an avid label reader, especially when it comes to products that have direct contact with you body. I remember my fascination with ingredients stemming back to high school when I would try to memorize the chemical names on the back of shampoo bottles (I realize that’s a weird thing to do, but you are who you are). Methylchloroisothiazolinone was my favorite. Little did I know, that while this chemical is designed to kill microbes of all kinds, it was also damaging the neurons in my brain. But enough about biocides. I want to talk about the mysterious ingredient known as “fragrance” or “parfum.”
“Fragrance” as an ingredient name could stand for a combination of any 3,000 chemicals used to produce artificial scents. Where do these wonderful smells come from? Nature of course. Not nature in the form of flowers, fruit and herbs, but rather crude oil derivatives.
Despite being approved by the government for use and “generally regarded as safe,” many of the chemicals used to make artificial fragrances are also known by the government to be:
-carcinogenic (cancer causing)
-endocrine distruptors (mess with your hormones)
-neurotoxic chemicals (kills brain cells)
Where are artificial fragrances most commonly found? The biggest culprits are lotions, shampoos, scented candles, dryer sheets, laundry detergents, cleaners, cosmetics, air fresheners, deodorants, soaps, sunscreens and body sprays.
Some people are more resilient to these chemicals than others. Whether it manifests as weight gain, headaches or brain fog, or more serious conditions like infertility and cancer, we are all affected to some degree. However, pregnant women, babies and children are the most vulnerable.
Alternatives to using “fragrance” can be to buy products that use “essential oils” as the scent agent, make your own homemade products using essential oils, keep fresh flowers and herbs around the house or office, and be sure to clean or remove the source of unpleasant odors.