Could Fragrance Be The New Second Hand Smoke?
Hundreds of studies over the last two decades are finding “fragrance” in beauty products and household cleaners are just as bad or worse for our health than secondhand smoke. We understand that littering is bad, and that pollution is toxic -- but using fragrance in your home (or workplace, or on your body) is also polluting our shared air and world.
The average consumer today is as uneducated about the dangers of synthetic fragrances as the average American was to the dangers of second-hand smoke in the 1960s. Those dangers include chemicals that are known neurotoxins, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, DNA mutagens, allergens, hepatotoxins and reproductive toxins all hidden under the simple ingredient label “fragrance.”
Manufacturers of beauty and cleaning products don’t have to disclose the hundreds of potential chemicals that could be used to make their fragrance, because they are considered “trade secrets” by the FDA. Toxic chemicals commonly found in products with “fragrance” on the ingredients list include acetone, phenol, toluene, benzyl acetate, limonene and formaldehyde.
A 2017 Australian study found synthetic fragrances trigger respiratory problems such as coughing and shortness of breath in 1 out of 5 people and migraines in 1 out of 10. Another 10 percent experience rashes or other skin problems when exposed, and 8 percent said they’ve missed work or lost a job due to fragrance-related illness in the workplace.
A 2016 study found 1/3 of Americans report adverse health effects when exposed to artificial fragrances. Breathing problems such as hay fever and asthma, found in 15-20% of North Americans, are made worse by synthetic fragrance. People with multiple chemical sensitivity can have even more severe reactions, making it difficult for them to hold a job or even go out in public.
Fragrance is in everything, so they’re difficult to avoid. Products that typically contain “fragrance” chemicals include:
- Hand Soap
- Body Soap
- Dental floss
- Nail polish and removers
- Laundry detergents
- Fabric softener
- Dish Soap
- Air freshener
- Household cleaners
But change is slowly coming with increasing number of clinics, schools, public buildings, buses and workplaces have declared their institutions “fragrance-free.” Concerned consumers should look for products labeled “fragrance-free” or that simply don’t list “fragrance” on the ingredients list, as products labeled “unscented” can still contain artificial fragrances used to mask the smell of other noxious chemicals. As for household cleaners, baking soda and vinegar work better than just about any product on the market, are cheaper and non-toxic.
We here at Hairprint Asia love that fact that all of our products are chemical free. We believe in creating natural hair care products that are safe for everyone and the environment.