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We all need to avoid synthetic fragrances as much as possible. When I first started the journey to reducing the chemical load on myself and family there was one thing I found especially horrifying……….The toxicity of Fragrances. How can something be allowed that is so damaging to our health?!?! Once you become aware of just how toxic fragrances can be the abundance of them in all aspects of our lives is terrifying.

Why Avoid Synthetic Fragrances

1 Phthalates

Most artificial fragrances contain phthalates, which are known endocrine disruptors. Ever wonder how those home fragrances manage to hang around so long in a room?? Phthalates that’s how, they are a group of chemicals known as “plasticizers’ and are included in fragrances to make the scent linger.

Phthalates are Endocrine disruptors, that is they negatively impact the functioning of our hormones. Our endocrine system is the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, among other things. SCARY MUCH?

As if that’s not bad enough, phthalates are also linked to asthma, ADHD, cancer,obesity, type 2 diabetes, Low IQ, neurodevelopment issues, behavioural issues,autism spectrum disorders, premature birth, early puberty, reduced fertility, birth defects,decreased sperm counts and damaged sperm.

2 Their Safety is Unknown

Of the thousands of chemicals used in fragrances, most have not been tested for toxicity, alone or in combination. I guess they figure they will just use us as the guinea pigs.

The process by which some of the synthetic fragrances are made also produces unintended toxic chemicals. Toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, dioxin and other volatile chemicals are produced from their interaction.

3 Hidden Ingredients

In Many cases fragrances are classed as “trade secrets” or “proprietary” and hence manufactures do not need to disclose the ingredients. This means they are allowed to group all these toxic chemicals under “Fragrance”.

4 Petroleum By-Product

Nearly all fake fragrances are derived from petroleum by-products. Benzene, toluene, xylenes, and methanol are some of the common petrochemicals used in these aromatic concoctions. SAY WHAT?? I am still so confounded as to why anyone ever thought it was a good idea to rub petroleum based products on our skin….or worse yet put it in our food, yep you read that correctly.

5 Environmentally Damaging

Being derived from largely petroleum by-products many of these chemicals are classified as hazardous waste under Australian legislation and can have a devastating effect on the environment. Synthetic musks for example are thought to be toxic to wildlife as they accumulate in aquatic species. There is much more research needed to fully understand the impact of synthetic fragrances on ecosystems.

6 Trigger Allergies & Chemical Sensitivities

Synthetic fragrances can trigger chemical sensitivities in the wearer as well as people around the wearer. Many of us have likely been next to someone wearing strong perfume and ended up with a headache. More and more people are starting to suffer from chemical sensitivities and allergies as the load of toxins in our systems increases over time.

Where Do I find Synthetic Fragrances?

Synthetic fragrances are absolutely everywhere as they are cheap to produce and are used by manufacturers to evoke an emotional response to make us buy their product.

Just some of the common household products that contain these toxic smells are:

  • Perfumes and colognes
  • Air fresheners including scented candles, wax melt, “fragrant” oils and reed diffusers
  • Deodorants
  • Beauty products such as moisturisers, creams and serums
  • Hair products such as shampoos, conditioners, hair spray and gels
  • Body/hand wash and soaps
  • Cleaning products like surface spray, dish washing liquid & dishwasher tablets
  • Laundry powders and fabric softeners
  • Toilet “stay fresh” products
  • The list goes on and on and on…..

The issue of synthetic fragrances is becoming more widely known and there are many articles and sites that are trying to raise awareness such as this one and Low Tox Life. Despite this many of us remain in the dark about the need to avoid synthetic fragrances.

Steering clear of products that contain these toxic chemicals is the best way to avoid synthetic fragrances. This can be quite a daunting task, at times seeming almost impossible. For help on how to start getting them out of your home see this see our post 4 Simple tips to Reduce Synthetic Fragrance Exposure.

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