Health Effects And Risks Of Toxic Fragrances


"Is Fragrance Making You Sick"

Fragrances are a stinky multi-million dollar business that could be making you sick without your knowledge. Fragrances are  filled with toxic chemicals which can lead to many serious health problems. These chemicals affect our lives in so many ways and many people are not aware of the serious dangers that we are facing as individuals and as a society. Let’s examine some of the facts about fragrances and see if you still think that smell is so good.

Some Stinky Facts:

  • Fragrance exposure is hazardous to everyone – children, reproductive-age, asthmatic, allergic and chemically injured people are especially vulnerable.
  • You are not protected by the government and you are exposed to toxic chemical fragrance chemicals without your consent because of trade secrets laws keep toxicity testing of ingredients from being accurately and truthfully disclosed.
  • One in five people experience health problems when exposed to fragrances and 72% of asthmatics have adverse reactions to perfume.
  • Ninety-five % of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum including benzene derivatives, aldehydes and many other known toxins and sensitizers. These are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.
  • One single fragrance can contain from 10 to several 100 chemicals. Amazing is it?
  • These chemicals are neurotoxins that are constantly vaporizing and can cause skin, eye and respiratory irritants among other systemic effects.
  • Phthalates that are a common ingredients in fragrances are known hormone disruptor and have been associated with reproductive (premature breast development and birth defects) disorders.
  • Your skin (the largest organ of the body) directly absorbs the fragrance’s chemicals when you apply it.
  • Clothing and bedding washed and/or dried with detergents or fabric softeners that contain chemical fragrances are in constant contact and the skin is directly absorbing the toxins. These toxins are also being inhaled as vapors.
  • The manufacturers specifically make fragrances to be long lasted and they do not break down easily. In fabrics fragrances accumulate and can be become concentrated and extremely difficult to remove from clothing.
  • If you use public laundry facilities where others use fragrance products your own laundry will absorb their scents and chemicals.
  •  Scents can also be absorbed into unscented products if stored next to each other.
  • The documented presence of  chemicals from fragrances in our environment and drinking water could adversely affect the health of people, animal life and plants.

Common Chemicals Found In 31 Fragrance Products from the 1991 EPA Study:  Acetone, benzaldehyde, benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, camphot, ethanol, ethyl acetate, limonene, linalool, methylene chloride, a-pinene, g-terpinene, a-terpineol.

You are being exposed without your consent to toxic chemical fragrances my friends.

How you ask?  — Because even if you don’t use fragrances this doesn’t mean you are safe from the dangers, you inhale and absorb other people’s scents and fragrances just like second-hand smoke. You absorb it through your hair, skin, clothing by direct contact or vapors in the air. For those that are already chemically injured fragrances can be debilitating or even life threatening.  For others exposure to fragrance chemicals adds to their total body load of the 80,000 synthetic chemicals in our environment that increases the risk of developing health problems.

Health Problems Associated with Exposure to Chemical Fragrance — as according to the 1991 EPA Study:

  • In severe cases – death from respiratory failure
  • Cancer
  • Neurotoxic (central and peripheral nervous system): coma, convulsions, headaches, migraines, depression, dizziness, irritability panic attacks, anxiety, impaired concentration, memory loss, insomnia, slurred speech, muscular problems, tingling in limbs, and others.  Something important to remember — constant low-level exposure to neurotoxins can lead to progressive and permanent brain damage.
  • Inhalation can cause drying, irritation and inflammation of the mucous membranes in the nose, sinuses, mouth, throat, and lungs.  Asthma attack, and difficulty breathing, uncontrolled coughing.
  • Fatigue
  • Eye irritant
  • Compromised Immune System
  • Drying and cracking of the skin
  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain
  • Kidney and liver damage
  • Drop or rise in blood pressure

Some Important Recommendations:

Always read labels carefully and remember that many advertising is misleading with words such as natural, floral, hypoallergenic, natural scent, might make you think that the product is safe when it is not.

  • Even “Unscented”  and “Fragrance free” products can contain masking fragrances to cover up the smell of ingredients.
  •  Be careful of natural scents such as essential oils are not organic because they too can be contaminated with solvents and pesticides.

On a personal note:  I have experienced the effects of fragrances and perfumes and the health problems that affected my health and lead to many life alternating events. I can no longer go to most public events, hold down a job in a normal office setting,  or go shopping. The effects are real and please don’t think it can’t happen to you because it can. Protect yourself at home and make changes in your life for your safety and your family’s safety.  Live a green lifestyle.

Be sure you do your research and know the product you use and always go organic when possible. It’s our health, our family’s health, our planet’s health, and the future legacy that we leave to our children. I would like to leave a cleaner and healthier environment. What about You?


 Other Sources – Less – Toxic Alternative – Tenth Addition Author: Carolyn Gorman

About the author

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog! I believe in living green, organically, and natural in every aspect of our lives. My mission is to help educate you on how to live green, help save our environment and to help you and your family live a happier, healthier life!

7 thoughts on “It’s A Stinky Business That Could Be Making You Sick!”

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  4. This is a great article Marla. Fragrance is so deceiving and you have highlighted in depth the possibilities.. I cannot bare to be around fragrance. I get chest pains and headache. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Thanks Loretta for commenting and all your support. I can’t stand to be around chemical fragrances either. It is a serious problem in our society – I don’t think you can go to any public bathrooms that aren’t heavily scented. Thanks so much for reading my article. Have a wonderful day.

      1. Glowing Organics

        Being on public transport is an issue for me at times. Being on a bus in the vicinity of someone douced in some super expensive designer fragrance literally makes me feel ill and with my son prone to having CV asthma these sort of things can trigger it. I also feel angry to a degree as I am forced to breathe in these fumes which I see as bad as having to breathe in someone else’s smoke, it’s unfair.
        As for the support the feelings mutual Marla. Keep up the good work and a good day to you too.

        1. It’s unfair to others and sad to those that use toxic fragrance because they are blindly causing themselves health problems. Sadly some people just don’t seem to care. But I believe in educating and making people aware of the facts and I will continue my mission to do so.

Would love to know your thoughts!

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