The Truth About Fragrance
Updated: Apr 21
The F word. It’s not what you think it is. This F word is much more dangerous than the actual F word. This F word is banned in my house and has been for over 10 years.
What is a fragrance?
A fragrance is an aromatic chemical compound. In a product, it is typically a complex mixture of several dozen to several hundred chemicals, which are primarily synthetic compounds. Fragrances have no purpose other than to make the odour of the product more pleasant, enhance the consumer experience and create an association between the odour and the product or company. Fragrances can also be added to products to help mask the smell of other ingredients in the product.
Where do we find fragrances?
There are nearly 3,000 compounds documented as fragrance ingredients.
They are found in consumer products such as perfumes and colognes, cosmetics, cleaning products, laundry products, beauty products, accent products (like candles & room sprays), feminine products (like pads & tampons), air fresheners, personal care products (like lotions, soaps & shampoos) and baby products, which are exempt from disclosing all ingredients (1), yes even the products we put on our youngest and most vulnerable population.
What are the health effects?
According to a study done in 2016: (2)
34.7% of the population reports health problems such as migraines, asthma attacks, neurological problems, mucosal symptoms, contact dermatitis and respiratory difficulties when exposed to fragranced products.
15.1% have lost work (days and/or a job) due to fragranced products in the workplace.
20.2% of people would enter a business and leave as quickly as possible if they smell air fresheners or fragranced products.
60% of consumers would not continue to use a fragranced product if they knew it emitted pollutants.
Why should I be concerned about fragrances?
They’re the primary source of indoor air pollution and personal exposure to indoor air pollution (3). There’s an emerging concern with the exposure to chemicals and VOC’s coming from household materials and consumer products (4).
The REAL problem with fragranced products: the disclosure of fragrance required by law, varies by product classification and even the most strict laws are weak and discrete at best.
For example: products like air fresheners, laundry supplies, cleaning products and others regulated by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, do not need to fully disclose ingredients on either the product or the material safety data sheet.
With the lack of disclosure, lack of reporting and exponentially increasing numbers of chemical compounds being released into the environment on an annual basis, it’s up to the consumer now, to concern themselves with selecting safer products by investigating the company making the products, combing through the (limited) ingredient list and calling to inquire about the company’s commitment to safer products.
Click here for a downloadable guide to the 6 products you can replace in your home with their non toxic counterparts.