Category Archives: fragrance

Perfume and Fragrance Exposure During Pregnancy

I recently received an email from Richard Pressinger. He sent me a link to his web site – Chem-Tox.com. He also pointed me to a section on Perfume and Fragrance Exposure During Pregnancy and Learning Disability Research Web Site.

This is all very interesting to me because it supports my own hypothesis that the chemical pollution in our environment is severely impacting the future of our country. I wonder what else we’ll find before we decide to stop their use?

Toxins in Air Fresheners

Our local television news last week had an item about the toxins in air fresheners. I always have to remind myself that the general public isn’t aware of things like this – so it really is news to many people.

The news article was based on research by Anne Steinemann, a University of Washington professor of civil and environmental engineering and public affairs. She did a study of some top-selling laundry products and air fresheners after having many people tell how these products made them sick. Her study found nearly 100 volatile organic compounds were emitted from the six products studied. And, of course, none of them were listed on the labels.

Continue reading Toxins in Air Fresheners

What Does Fragrance Free Mean?

I see a lot of talk on the web about this. As well as hear a lot of different comments. Some comments are about the fact that a product has an odor of any kind.

So, what do I mean by Fragrance Free?

It’s the addition of artificial fragrance that I mean when I talk about fragrance added to anything. You can call it “fragrance”, “masking fragrance”, “perfume” or even “parfum” (for that French feel). They are all the same. A bunch of chemicals that likely haven’t been tested on humans. Probably some have, but the fragrance industry doesn’t what to tell you about that. So they hide behind their “trade secret” claim.

You have to be careful when shopping. It isn’t enough that the front of the label says “Unscented” or “Fragrance Free”. There’s no FDA regulation about this. Or any regulation anywhere. If it’s a personal care product (shampoo, lotion, makeup, etc), then turn it over and read the ingredients. I know it’s more work, but if you’re sensitive, it’s necessary. Read the whole list. Fragrances are usually listed near the end, but don’t rely on that. I even read the ingredients when the front says “No Added Fragrance”. If you’re sensitive to fragrances, you can’t be too careful.

And if it’s a household product, it’s trickier. There’s no regulation that requires them to even list their ingredients. Sometimes it can be trial and error. Here are some clues: If it says “Fresh Clean Scent” or “Ocean Fresh Scent” or anything else that implies a certain scent, then don’t buy it. It has fragrance of some sort in it. Some products say “No Added Fragrance”. I trust these cautiously. Your best bet (although nearly impossible to follow 100%) is to only buy household products that list their ingredients.

And yes, a fragrance free product is likely to still have a ‘odor’ to it. Some chemicals have an odor. So you’ll still be able to smell something. Some people find the chemical odors objectionable. Which is why you often see “masking fragrance” in your ingredient list. To me, a masking fragrance is as bad (or even worse) than other added fragrances. I say worse because it can fool you without that fragrancy smell to it.

If you still want a product with a nice smell, consider purchasing a bit of an essential oil and adding it to your products. Don’t add a lot, a little goes a long way. And some of your ‘greener’ products have essential oils added. I’ve become so sensitive to odors that I stay away from these too. But you might want to give them a try.

Household Products Database

I found a link recently to the Household Products Database. Created by the National Library of Medicine, it provides health & safety information on household products.

You can look up information by product or ingredient. For example, enter Fragrance in the ingredients search and you get this long list. I didn’t read the entire list, but I did look through it.

I learned some interesting things. For example, did you know you could buy Cologne for your pet??? I knew that if you took a pet to be groomed that they put stinky stuff on them. But worse – Crest Toothpaste is on the list as containing fragrance??!? What in the world? Why? Oh, sorry, probably cannot apply logic to this… 😕

Mail From the Healthy!

I’ve suspected for quite a while that the perfume issue was getting out of hand. More and more when I go out in public (which, btw, I do less and less), I wind up coming home reeking of all the other perfumes worn by other people. It is in my hair and on my clothes. I have been known to change my clothes and even wash my hair during the day because of this.

Well, this is an email from someone with no health issues from fragrances, just is offended by their overuse.

I don’t think I am “chemically sensitive” in a medical way. I just really hate stinky perfumes! Even though it does feel as though it gets up my nose, but I don’t actually get a headache from it. So many people think they should load on the fragrance whether they are going to the office or to the theater. What is the best thing to say? You can’t say “Boy, that’s a horrid, stinky scent you’re wearing!” How about “Oh, I’m sorry, but that heavy perfume you have on is too overpowering to me, so could you not come so close?” What if the person is your supervisor????

I’ve always wished I could just have a sneezing fit on demand. Or perhaps a coughing fit? Sadly, I’ve not found a nice way to tell someone that they reek. And it always seems that those who wear the most are the easiest offended. I can certainly sympathize with this reader though. And you really do have to tread lightly when it’s your supervisor.

Anyone have a good suggestion for this person? You’d be helping a lot of people. I know b/c quite a few people find this blog by posing a question like that in Google!

From My Inbox

I receive emails via my other web site, Fragrance Free World, as well as from visitors to this site. I thought I would post some comments from a recently received email:

If exposed for more than 15-20 minutes can be under the weather, unable to sleep and depressed for 3-4 days thereafter

Air frsheners or fabric conditioners cause chest to tighten and breathing difficult

Sometimes feel that am tasting soap in my mouth and throat for hours afterwards

Have made my home free of chemicals and am well as long as I can avoid contact with V.O.C’s

Have followed development of REACH in the European parliament an am disappointed to see that 7 – 10 years will pass before chemical manufacturers need o show awareness and stringen safety controls so would just like to hear that someone out there is creating a greater awareness…..

I had not heard of REACH before so I thought I would do a bit of research.

Firstly, REACH is an acronym for : Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals. This is a law that went into effect in Europe on June 1, 2007. The overall goal appears to be to protect human health and the environment from toxic chemicals. Prior to this law, chemicals that were in use prior to 1981 were sort of ‘grandfathered’ – i.e. they were not subject to the same regulations as newer chemicals. You can read more about REACH on this web site. While it is true that industry has up to 11 (eleven!) years to comply, it is encouraging to know that more is being done about this issue.

Quite a Paradox

One way I have of wasting time is listening to the radio in the morning. The station I listen to has a contest at 7:30 AM called “20 Minute Trivia for the Tired and Brain-dead.” A trivia question is asked and over the course of 20 minutes, people call in trying to guess the answer. It’s never the obvious answers, it’s always the weird ones. If noone gets the answer in 20 minutes, the prize is awarded to the person on the phone when time is up.

This morning’s question was: “According to new research, what is the main reason a woman will wear too much perfume?”

It’s always interesting to hear the banter of the morning DJs. They talked about the women they’ve worked with that you could smell coming. They all agreed that the woman who wore too much perfume was to be avoided. I have to take exception here because men can be just as guilty as women at wearing too much stink.

I was sure that the answer had to be that they could no longer smell it b/c of all the fragrances in their life. I never did get through, and it turns out I was wrong.

The answer? Because they are depressed. It seems, according to this (unidentified) research, you tend to lose your sense of smell when depressed. So to me that seems to create quite a paradox. Someone is depressed, can’t smell, puts on more perfume, everyone avoids the person, they get more depressed, can’t smell, put on MORE perfume, everyone avoids… You get the picture?

Non-Rebel Fragrance Fan

The poor people that come up with these things. If they only knew that the fragrances have affected their brains to the point that they come up with CRAZY products. Just what the world needs is a fan that spews fragrance.

This came from an email ad sent out by my least favorite kitchen, bath and bedroom shop. The one that goes BEYOND the necessary in stinking up their store with fragrances. The fragrance fan is from that “Non-Rebel” candle company and is touted as “Flame-free fragrance!”

(No, no, I don’t get email ads from that company. I have spies. :mrgreen: )

Asthma On The Rise

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who is truly “aware” , but last month our local newspaper reported on the increase in asthma in children. That was something I’ve noticed over the past few years just from personal observation and reading. But it seems the media isn’t really paid to think so they just found out.

The report citedreally information from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and said that San Antonio ranked No. 11 this year (2007) on its list of “asthma capitals”.

The article was written from the standpoint of what it is costing the schools. As in, they get their state funding based upon attendance. Plus the schools now have a supply of nebulizers in their nurse’s office.

It did mention some of the things that the school districts are doing to try to help the children with asthma. Mostly removing these asthma triggers and agents that can harbor asthma triggers: stuffed animals, pillows, pets, deodorizing sprays, aerosols, candles, carpeting. But it likely isn’t near far enough.

I actually graduated from one of the schools mentioned in the article. I was back there for an alumni event a few years back. There was a strong scent of fragrance that I believe came from the cleaners used in the building. I left there with a migraine. It’s no wonder there are more kids with asthma.

I suspect that the school districts may not realize that fragrances are in all those cleaners. I actually encountered such thinking when I still worked in the “real” world. This was after I began having migraines 24/7. I somewhat got the attention of management although their primary goal seemed to prove me wrong. I actually had one person tell me that the cleaners that were used did not contain fragrance. She showed me the label which did not list fragrance as an ingredient. Of course it didn’t. It wasn’t required by law to list fragrance. But, what exactly did she think “Fresh Clean Scent” on the label meant?

How is your children’s school? You may want to inquire about the chemical cleaners they use.

A Fresh Broom?

Just when you think there’s nothing else they can add fragrance to:

This story was in our local paper the other day. In the “Life” section under the heading of Consumer’s Edge. (Consumer’s Edge seems to be where they advertise products by publishing info. from company press releases.)

It seems that two companies (who shall remain nameless so that I don’t give them any publicity) have gotten together and come up with a broom that has an air freshener attached. Their claiming it has a “fresh scent”. One of the company representatives was quoted as saying, “The (aforementioned, unnamed broom) brings true innovation to the broom category, with a clear understandable and detectable benefit to the consumer.” Oh, and it only costs $11.99!

True innovation? I don’t think so. It may be detectable, but it is neither understandable nor a benefit. Just another way to pollute your home environment.