Maybe it’s because I’m French that my favorite childhood cartoon character is Pepe le Pew, a handsome Parisian Skunk. Millenniums, I’m sure you would love him too had he debuted on your childhood tablet. I love being surrounded by nature, the smells, sounds, textures, and colors, it’s relaxing and invigorating all at the same time. So when did someone come up with the idea to imitate these wonderful scents by using chemicals and calling them Fragrance?
We all want to smell nice, no one wants to be embarrassed by personal or household odors so to make sure of that we reach for cover. I’m talking, synthetic fragrances that may contain as many as 200 undeclared ingredients. Fragrances are among the world’s top five allergens. Everything from household cleaning products, scented laundry products, candles, air fresheners, and personal care products. We all know what it’s like to have to sit near someone on public transportation with too much perfume/cologne on. Oh how they make my nose twitch, eyes water and then comes the sneezing and those are just my immediate symptoms. In the course of a day, week, years there are a lot of instances where we are exposed to volatile organic compounds (VOC) found in synthetic fragrances and figuring out what these chemicals are is difficult. Because many are regulated by the Cosmetic Industry or Consumer Product Safety Commission, there is no disclosure required. Under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) companies don’t have to reveal the chemical constituents of a fragrance. They can be simply labeled as “fragrance” in order to protect their “Trade Secrets”.
Clean, pure air has no smell at all, that’s what we should strive for in our home. Added fragrance is typically made up of of a cocktail of chemicals such as phthalates and synthtic musks that have hormone-disrupting properties. A 2010 University of Washington study on air contaminants from fragranced consumer goods detected between 18 and 20 chemicals in laundry detergents alone, including the likely human carcinogens acetaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane, the developmental toxicants methyl ethyl ketone and chloromethane, and allergens like linalool.
Do you want to breath fresh air? Here’s what you need to know about Fragrances and creating a cleaner home environment.
- Throw open your windows as often as possible to get a good air exchange. Indoor air is typically more polluted than outdoor air.
- Know what chemicals to keep out of your home. I’ve included a list for you but now it’s up to you to check your home products to see if they contain any of these harmful chemicals.
- Try cleaning with baking soda, white vinegar, lemons and a little elbow grease.
- Place live indoor plants to clean the air in every room. a few of my favorites because they are easy to care for- english ivy, spider plants, gerber daisies, aloe vera, fig, ficus, philodendron, bamboo palm, chinese evergreen.
- Diffuse essential oils or add an essential oil to bees wax candles.
- Eliminate scented laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets. A natural fabric softener is 1/2 cup of white vinegar per load during the rinse cycle.
- Burn Bees Wax candles rather than paraffin candles which contain many toxic chemicals that are released when burned. Petro Soot from paraffin wax gives off the same soot as the exhaust of a diesel engine and can be as dangerous as second-hand cigarette smoke. Paraffin candles also contain heavy metals in their wicks. Lead was banned from wicks in 2003 but aluminum is still used. Bees wax, soy and vegetable oil candles with cotton wicks are good alternatives.
- Give up perfumes and personal body care products unless noted they are scented with essential oils.
- Give up air fresheners. Their sole purpose is to flood the air with fragrance that mask odors and they contain toxic chemicals that disrupt hormone and thyroid function.
- Vent externally in your kitchen and bathrooms.
- Invest in a quality Air Ionizer.
I’m more than happy to do a personal in home consult with you to do an even deeper clean of your indoor environment. You see, I cut those artificial fragrances out of my life years ago, so when I run into them, I know it instantly. Once you learn to recognize danger you can pick it out quickly.