The problem with fragrances
by Joanne Henning Tedesco —
Today, many products we buy have fragrance added to them, which makes them toxic. As many as 95 percent of chemicals used in fragrances are made from petroleum products, which are known to cause cancer, birth defects and damage to the brain, lungs and nerves. Some chemicals commonly used in fragrances, such as toluene, are found on worldwide hazardous waste lists.
Because fragrances are not regulated by any government or health agency, no law requires that fragrance ingredients be listed on product labels. For example, paradichlorobenzene, a cancer-causing chemical used in many air fresheners, also is used in some pesticides.
U.S. law requires it to be listed as an active ingredient in pesticides, but it does not have to be listed at all on air freshener labels.
The more often you breathe in these chemicals (24 hours a day if they are in clothes and bedding), the more likely you are to permanently damage your body.
Regular users of scented products often say they “can hardly smell it.” That could be because these products deaden your natural ability to smell, making you want to use more and stronger fragrances. Meanwhile, what you think is a light fragrance is suffocating and nauseating people around you.
Joanne Henning Tedesco is editor of AzNetNews.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 23, Number 1, February/March 2005.