What you may not realize while you are spraying your favorite perfume daily are the dangers that lurk inside the pretty bottles sitting on your dresser or in the automatic sprays around your home.
As people are asking more questions about the products they use, new information is becoming available about the dangers and side effects of the chemicals used in the millions of beauty and home products.
Making sense of scents
What you don't know won't hurt you right? Did you know that perfume manufacturers are not required by the FDA to reveal any ingredients in their products? Intellectual property issues aside, there are no full disclosure warnings or consumer advisory for chemicals that are hazardous or medically contraindicated.
What are the dangerous chemicals in perfumes?
Commonly used chemicals in many perfumes and fragrances:
- Diethyl phthalate: Linked to sperm damage in human epidemiological studies.
- Benzaldehyde: Central nervous system depressant, which can cause irritation to mouth, throat, eyes, skin, lungs and gastrointestinal tract. May cause kidney damage.
- Benzyl acetate, ethanol: On the EPA hazardous waste list causing fatigue, eye and upper respiratory tract irritation.
The EPA includes air fresheners in a list of indoor air pollutants and considers it a volatile organic compound that causes negative health reactions.
The chemicals listed above are only a few of the hundreds used, and 95 percent are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum.
In a study published by the National Institutes of Health, one of the mechanisms for the cause of autism spectrum disorders has been shown to be found in perfumes and fragrances.
Alternatives to perfumes
If you like to smell good, essential oils are a friendlier alternative to perfumes. These natural oils, derived from plants, should be diluted in lotion or oil, such as almond oil, before using it on your skin. Test a patch of skin for an allergic reaction before using.
You can create your own body spray by adding one teaspoon of essential oils to every half cup of distilled water. Let sit for 12 hours. Mix different oils, such as orange and lavender, for a fresh clean smell, spray this concoction around your house.
Smell better with food
Need an incentive to ditch the donuts and eat healthier? Certain foods will make you smell better or worse! Foods high in zinc, such as nuts or dark green leafy vegetables, will produce pleasant odors while foods high in sulfur or a diet high in red meat will produce more of a foul body odor.
If you're experiencing debilitating fatigue, eye or upper respiratory tract irritation, and you suspect fragances could be making you feel worse, make an appointment with an Atlanta doctor for a physical exam.