Can fragrance make you sick? Your everyday perfume could be negatively affecting your health, as well as your friends and family.
What is the problem with fragrance?
There's been a recent uprise in fragrance-related health problems, pinpointing the chemicals in fragrance, including perfume and household items as the root of some people's headaches, allergies and respiratory problems. Fragranced products have been popular for hundreds of years, with use of perfumes and colognes dating back to Ancient Egyptian times, but the rise of mass-produced synthetic fragrances has started making people sick. A recent study from the University of Melbourne discovered that 7.7 per cent of Australians said they had lost workdays or a job in the past year due to illness caused by fragranced products in the workplace, and 11.6 per cent of Australians are unable to use a public toilet if there is an air freshener.1
Synthetic scents can make some people so sick they have to ask friends, work colleagues and even cleaners to just lay off the perfume and strong smelling detergents. Australian author Kate Grenville recently published a book called The Case Against Fragrance, detailing her experience of discovering that a fragrance sensitivity was impacting her health and wellbeing and finding out just how hard it was to avoid fragrance when shopping, travelling or even just seeing friends. She found that candles, perfumes and air fresheners can cause headaches, nausea, confusion and sore eyes!
Some ingredients found in synthetic fragrances are known carcinogens and hormone-disrupters.2 This means they can impact your hormone levels and expose you to chemicals such as Formaldehyde which can have adverse effects on your health. In some cases, traces of such chemicals have even been found in breastfeeding mothers' breast milk. The International Fragrance Association has stated that the average perfume can contain over 100 ingredients, and there are nearly 3000 ingredients on the list of potential fragrance ingredients.3 Fragranced products that go down the drain in the kitchen and bathroom can also end up in our oceans, causing damage to precious marine life.2
What are the symptoms of fragrance sensitivity?
According to Kate Grenville, the over-processed, concentrated fragrance in preservative-filled synthetic products is what causes physical reactions and potentially long-term hormonal disruptions. If you're one of the 33% of people affected by fragrance, you'll know it comes at you from all directions - air fresheners in offices, shops as well as heavy perfumes worn by colleagues, friends and family and scented laundry detergent (amongst supermarket aisles of products), and causes headaches, migraines, nausea and dry eyes.1 It can even exacerbate symptoms of asthma and allergies, and in severe cases, cause dizziness and fainting. The University of Melbourne study found that one in three Australians report health problems, including migraine headaches and asthma attacks, when they are exposed to common fragranced consumer products.1
Swapping to natural and organic fragrance
With natural alternatives available for just about all your personal care and household products, it's easy to ensure that you and your family are not breathing harmful chemicals every day. The natural health, home and beauty products we stock are formulated without the use of harsh synthetic fragrances, instead utilising gentle essential oils to provide uplifting and fragrant scents without causing headaches and nausea!
Life Basics Absolute Perfume
An aromatic combination of Rose, Vanilla, juicy citrus and fragrant Jasmine, the Life Basics Absolute Perfume is a beautiful fragrence that is made from 100% natural and vegan-friendly ingredients. Free from emulsifiers, this oil spray can be shaken before use to blend the natural ingredients together.
LaVanila Vanilla Coconut Roller Ball Perfume
In a convenient travel-size rollerball, the LaVanila Vanilla Coconut Roller Ball contains fragrant ingredients including young Coconut and Madagascan Vanilla for a warm and inviting fragrance. This long-lasting perfume contains organic Sugar Cane alcohol for a non-irritating fragrance that lingers all day long.
Black Chicken Remedies Transcendence 1 Essential Oil Perfume
The Black Chicken Remedies Essential Oil Perfume contains Sandalwood, Geranium, Patchouli and Lavender to utilise the healing and calming benefits of aromatherapy. This pure blend responds to your skin's natural oils to personalise the fragrance, making it smell unique to every person who wears it!
ECO. AROMA Women's Blend
The ECO. AROMA Women's Blend has been formulated with Lavender, Cedarwood, Geranium and Ylang Ylang with women in mind. This gentle blend is calming and balancing, helping to harmonise both mind and body. Add to your vapouriser for an uplifting room fragrance or add to a carrier oil for a beautifully feminine body moisturiser.
ECO. AROMA Calm & Destress Blend
Perfect for those in need of some aromatherapeutic serenity without the nausea, the ECO. AROMA Calm & Destress Blend contains natural Orange, Patchouli and Sandalwood and is ideal for massage or use in a vapouriser. This calming blend can ease tension and relieve stress, allowing both mind and body to relax.
Ecostore Laundry Powder - Fragrance Free
If there's one thing you should make sure is fragrance free, it's your laundry powder, according to Kate Grenville. Unscented or sensitive laundry detergents are ideal for the whole family's safety to ensure no hormone-disrupting chemicals linger on clothing, such as those from synthetic laundry detergents. This Ecostore Laundry Powder - Fragrance Free is approved by Sensitive Choice® and has been formulated especially for sensitive skin, making the risk of reaction minimal. Use one scoop in hot and cold cycles.
Abode Fragrance Free Dish Liquid
In a concentrated and effective formula, the Abode Fragrance Free Dish Liquid is free from the harsh ingredients and fragrances found in many dishwashing liquids yet leaves dishes sparkling clean. This unscented dishwashing detergent is ideal for anyone wanting to avoid nasty chemicals when washing the dishes, with the anti-residue formula providing a deep clean without leaving that chemical smell behind.
Sources: 1University of Melbourne, 2Sydney Morning Herald, 3The Case Against Fragrance.