The Dangers of Fragrances and Chemicals

The Dangers Of Fragrances and Chemicals

Whether it’s everyday cleaning supplies, air fresheners, laundry detergents, or expensive perfumes and lotions, artificial fragrance and the chemicals that go into some of these products can be very damaging to not only our environment, but our health as well. Even products that are labeled “unscented” can be full of chemicals that are not healthy. Toxins in synthetic scents have been known to cause cancer, birth defects, nervous system disorders, hormonal imbalances, allergic reactions, and more.

A 2008 study that was published in Environmental Impact Assessment Review looked at the gasses that were released off six well-known consumer products, including dryer sheets, laundry detergent, and air fresheners. Researchers found that there were 98 volatile organic compounds found in these things, which made the indoor air more toxic than outdoor air. Some of these chemicals had even been classified as hazardous air pollutants or carcinogens by the EPA. (1)

Unfortunately, we’re surrounded by fragrances everywhere we go. So, how do you limit your exposure to the toxic chemicals and fragrances that permeate our environment? Here are some tips and suggestions that can help.

Tip #1: Reduce your exposure to synthetic fragrance.
Products that are labeled “unscented” are not always fragrance-free, so when you’re shopping, look for products that have no added fragrance in them. Avoid using air fresheners and if you want to reduce odors around your home, open your windows for some fresh air. Or, consider cooking up some herbs or spices on the stove with cinnamon spice, fresh pine needles, or cut-up fruit in some water that can simmer and add a nice scent to your space.

Tip #2: Create your own cleaning products.
Making your own cleaning products is not only safer for your health and the environment, but it can often be less expensive. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of recipes online for homemade cleaning products that are effective and use non-toxic ingredients.

Tip #3: Eliminate personal care products with a lot of chemicals in them.
Personal care products are often packed with harmful chemicals. Read the labels of your personal care items closely and get rid of the ones that have sodium laureth sulfate and parabens in them. Do some research about what other safe products are out there that you can use on your skin or hair, throw out the old stuff, and commit to using the new non-toxic products regularly.

Tip #4: Don’t track in chemicals.
Did you know that your shoes can bring in chemicals to your home, too? Use a door mat to catch dirt and chemicals, then when you get inside, take your shoes off to avoid tracking stuff around the home that you don’t want to contaminate the area with. Mop your floors and vacuum regularly to increase indoor air quality and keep your home free as possible of toxic chemicals.

A healthy future begins with small steps like this and over time, they can lead to positive, lasting change in your life and the lives of your family members that live in your home. For more information on healthy personal care and cleaning items, visit the EWG site here.

  1. “Toxic fragrance in the air.” EWG News and Analysis. August 22, 2008. Accessed online November 21, 2017.

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