A Growing Health & Environmental Hazard
Today’s fragrances make you think they are made from flowers. They contain toxic chemicals you inhale and absorb through your skin.
FRAGRANCE CHEMICAL EXPOSURE IS HAZARDOUS TO EVERYONE.
Especially vulnerable are fetuses, children, reproductive-age people, and asthmatic, allergic and chemically-injured people.
Health Hazards of the 20 Most Common Chemicals Found in 31 Fragrance Products
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) Analysis of the 1991 EPA study
- Death due to respiratory failure
- Neurotoxin reactions (central and peripheral nervous system):
coma, convulsions, headache, depression, dizziness, irritability, confusion, panic attacks/anxiety, memory loss, impaired concentration, drowsiness, insomnia, impaired vision, stupor, spacey, giddiness, slurred speech, twitching muscles, tingling in the limbs, loss of muscular coordination.
This continuous low-level exposure to neurotoxins can lead to progressive and permanent brain damage. Inhalation of fragrance can cause: asthma, reactive airway disease, difficultly breathing, coughing; drying, irritation or inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, sinuses, mouth, throat, and lungs.
* Eye irritant
* Drying and cracking of skin
* Damage to the immune system
* Kidney and liver damage
* Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain
* Drop or rise in blood pressure
Fragrance can be present…
Even if you can’t smell it.
MANY PRODUCTS CONTAIN FRAGRANCE CHEMICALS (just to name a few):
Dish washing Detergents
Tissues and toilet paper
Hand and Body Lotions
Nail polish and polish remover
Just because you can buy a product does not make it safe!
95% of the chemicals in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum.
You are directly affected by your own use of fragranced products and indirectly affected by other people’s use of fragranced products.
Your skin, your body's largest organ, absorbs fragrance chemicals by direct application, by contact with fragranced items, and by exposure to air containing fragrances.
*Estee Lauder, Proctor & Gamble and L'Oreal own numerous beauty products made with low grade ingredients; which means they are full of synthetic chemicals! L'Oreal owns: Redken, Matrix, Logics, Keratase, Mizani, Alterna, Pureology, Nioxin and many others. Protor & Gamble owns: Wella, Sebastian, Vidal Sassoon, Federic Fekkai, Graham Webb, Clairol, ect. Estee Lauder owns Aveda, Lancôme, and the Body Shop. Estee Lauder owns 29 brands including MAC and Clinique. The beauty industry is dominated by a few corporations owning multiple major brands.
Use Fragrance-Free Products. Read product labels carefully.
*Misleading words such as; natural, floral, hypoallergenic, natural scent, and the names of flowers make you think the product is safe when it may not be safe.
*Some “unscented” and “fragrance-free” products can contain masking fragrances to cover up the smell of other ingredients.
If you see the word ‘fragrance” it is not a safe product, unless it reads: ‘fragrance *derived from essential oils”.
Chemicals are everywhere, so it is of utmost importance to choose “non-toxic” alternatives in all aspects of our lives.
Books about making, using and buying safe products:
Natural Beauty Basics by Dorie Byers, R.N.
Better Basics For The Home, Annie Berthold-Bond, 1999
Creating a Healthy Household, Lynn Bower, 2000
Home Sweet Home, Debra Lynn Dadd, 1997
Less Toxic Alternatives, Carolyn Gorman, 2001
Dying To Be Beautiful, Peter Lamas
The Story of Cosmetics
The Story of Stuff
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Campaign For Safe Cosmetics: http://safecosmetics.org/
www.fpinva.org (Fragranced Products Information Network)
www.noharm.org (Health Care Without Harm)
Groton spa owner spikes the toxins: http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=411
Acute Toxic Effects of Fragrance Products, Rosalind C. Anderson, Julius H. Anderson, Archives of Environmental Health, 1998
Chemical Exposure and Human Health, Cynthia Wilson
Drop-Dead Gorgeous: Protecting Yourself from the Hidden Dangers of Cosmetics, Kim Erickson, 2002
Fragrance and Health, Louise Kosta, 1998
Perfume Toxicity, Sensitivity, Accommodations and Disability, Cindy Duehring
Respiratory Toxicology of Fabric Softener Emissions, Rosalind C. Anderson, Julius H. Anderson, Archives of Environmental Health, 1997
The large majority of fragrance chemicals are synthetic compounds, with most being synthesized from petroleum products or byproducts of other industries such as turpentine.
Over 80-90% ofall fragrance chemicals are synthetic. synthetic chemicals are used in the fragrance industry because of availability and cost factors. Also using synthetics allow scents not found in nature to be created. It would be impossible to produce perfumes with the intensity and staying power of modern fragrances using all natural materials.
Fragrance chemicals are frequent causes of dermatological problems. The fragrance portion of laundry products and cosmetics is the number one cause of allergic and irritant skin reactions to those products. The majority of times these are local reactions and require contact with the product. However there have been some instances of dermatitis from airborne materials and actually physical contact with the product never occurred. Generalized rashes may also occur in sensitive individuals.
Many fragrance materials can cause photosensitivity. This is of special concern in sunscreen products that contain fragrance. Those materials that have the potential to cause photosensitivity or photo toxicity should not be used in products such as lotions or sunscreens that are used on areas that have exposure to the sun.
While generally one only thinks about what is applied to the skin as onlyaffecting the skin, this is not true. Fragrance chemicals penetrate the skin and thus can affect other organs. Studies have shown that cinnamaldehyde binds with proteins in the skin to cause allergic reactions. It is also found that some fragrance materials are absorbed by the skin and then broken down into materials that are stronger sensitizers than the original chemicals.
Fragrance materials are volatile compounds and readily enter the air. Many break down, react with other materials in the air, and form new compounds which are sometimes more toxic than the original substance. In the presence of ozone, small particles can be formed which can be breathed deeply into the lungs. Scented products contribute significantly to indoor air pollution which impact human health, especially sensitive populations.
Though most scented products are used indoors, they eventually end up outside. Air exchange from buildings sends the volatile compounds in outdoor air where they often end up long distances from where they started. Scented products with a wet application such as shampoos, soaps, cleaners, and detergents go down the drain. They are not completely eliminated by waste water treatment and end up in waterways where they can bioaccumulate in aquatic wildlife and travel up the food chain.
Most of the fragrance chemicals have not had testing done to determine their impact on the respiratory and immune systems.
One study that was done showed that the perfume strips in magazines were triggers for asthma. Another study showed that asthma like symptoms were triggered by fragrance chemicals. This study showed that the symptoms were triggered even when the participants could not detect the odor. It also pointed out that carbon masks while filtering out odor did not prevent the symptoms.
Virtually all of the chemicals used in fragrances are volatile organic compounds. These types of chemicals are known to be respiratory irritants. They are often unstable chemicals that are air, light, and heat sensitive. This means they break down in the air, often to more dangerous compounds. The components in the air that can constantly change.
A fragrance formula may contain as few as 10-15 ingredients or as many as several hundred. Some perfumes are said to have 600-800 ingredients. In perfumes the fragrance materials generally make up 20-25% of the finished products. In other consumer products the percentage of fragrance in a product is much less.
The percentage of any one material is usually very low, so thought to be safe. However, recent studies have shown that some materials potentate the effects of others. So mixtures may pose a health hazard many times that of the individual ingredients. Also if all of the ingredients are respiratory irritants the effect would be a cumulative one of all the chemicals.
Many of the same aldehydes and other chemicals targeted as having effects on the respiratory system in cigarettes are fragrance chemicals that are added to enhance flavor. These chemicals are connected with the increased asthma rates of children in homes of smokers. If these chemicals are harmful in cigarettes they would certainly be harmful in other consumer products.
At the very least fragranced products are triggers for the asthmatic because or irritation to hyperactive airways. Products used by others can be detrimental to asthmatics and can seriously affect their health. And they seriously impact the air quality in homes, offices, schools, and other public places. And there is real potential that they are much more than irritants, and may be the primary cause of asthma in some individuals.
The nose is a chemical receptor. When you detect the odor of something you are detecting the chemicals that make up that odor. The sense of smell has a more direct connection to the brain than any other sense. There is no barrier between the brain and the chemicals that you breathe in. While it is well known the effects of "snorting" cocaine, little thought is given to the effects of the other chemicals that pass through our nasal passages.
Studies have shown that inhaling fragrance chemicals can cause circulatory changes in the brain. Changes in electrical activity in the brain also occur with exposure. Fragrances are a frequent trigger of migraine headaches. Changes in circulatory and electrical activity in the brain can trigger migraines in susceptible individuals.
One study showed that mobility in mice was decreased by 30% when exposed to some fragrance chemicals. This effect was present even when stimulated with caffeine. This is a significant consideration that affects health, safety, as well as productivity on the job.
AETT was found to be a neurotoxin and it was found to be absorbed through the skin. AETT was frequently used in "fragrance free" products. Musk Amberette was also found to cause neurological problems in animals and should not be used in fragranced products.
Since fragrance chemicals are absorbed through the skin they can and do affect other organs of the body. AETT was found to cause discoloration in internal organs. Some of these chemicals are toxic to the liver and kidneys. Others accumulate in fat tissue. Recent research has raised concerns about reproductive effects of phthalates, common solvents used in fragrance formulations.
Synthetic musk compounds have been found in the water supply of urban areas. It is thought that the use of fragranced laundry products, household products, and personal hygiene products such as shampoos has contaminated the water supply. These chemicals are not filtered out by water processing methods and thus what goes down the drain ends up in drinking water. These compounds are being found in fat tissue and breast milk. Only a few studies have been done and the long-term effects are not known. The safety of these chemicals has not been established.