Aromatic Assault: Why Fragrance is Toxic

To most people, fragrances seem completely harmless. So they use them throughout their days in various ways unknowingly exposing themselves to an abundance of poisons. Fragrances are toxic. They have the same chemical compound construction as those in pesticides and herbicides. Do you want to be spraying yourself and filling the air in your home or vehicle with poison?

I remember growing up and smelling candles or air fresheners here and there. Maybe someone would spray an air freshener after using the bathroom. Maybe I’d detect a strong perfume or cologne now and then while out. It wasn’t a constant. Now, fragrances are everywhere. I walked into a local boutique the other day and I turned around and walked right out because of the potent scent wafting through the air. 

When someone surrounds themselves with these toxic fragrances, their sense of smell becomes deadened so they often don’t even realize just how much they are immersed in regularly.

I realize the word “poison” could seem overly dramatic. I assure you, it’s not. 

Fragrance Definition

So what am I referring to when with “fragrance”? I’m referring to a concoction of chemicals that have been added to a product to give it a “pleasing” scent. Merriam Webster defines fragrance as “a sweet, pleasant smell”. I define fragrance as an aromatic chemical cocktail. Thus, it is far from 100% natural nor untampered with. Fragrances are in so many products these days. Conventional candles, air fresheners, perfumes, body sprays, hair products, deodorants, detergents, cleaning products, dryer sheets, and more have fragrances.

Over 4,000 toxic chemicals are currently used to create scents in fragrances. You will never find labels that state what chemicals are used though. It will simply state “fragrance”. If you did happen to find a list of what was in a “fragrance”, it would be a very long label. Some of the more common chemicals you’d find are:

  1. Styrene: an “anticipated” human carcinogen

  2. Phthalates: endocrine disruptors that can decrease IQ in children whose mothers were exposed to them during pregnancy. Phthalates have also been linked to sperm damage in studies. 

  3. Musk ketone: a skin irritant and hormone disruptor

  4. Benzaldehyde: a known narcotic, lung and eye irritant. It can cause nausea, abdominal pain, and kidney damage

  5. Benzyl acetate: a known carcinogen, which causes eye and lung irritation as well as coughing

  6. Camphor: can cause dizziness, confusion, nausea, muscle twitching, convulsions

  7. Ethyl acetate: can cause eye and respiratory irritation

  8. Limonene: a known carcinogen

  9. Linalool: can cause respiratory disturbances, depression, and central nervous system issues

  10. Methylene chloride: though the FDA has banned it due to its severe toxic effects, it’s still found in many fragrances

This is just a miniscule sample of some of the chemicals commonly found in fragrances.

The Harmful Effects of Toxic Fragrances

The human body was not designed to be around this constant onslaught of poisons. As a result, the toxins that make up fragrances can accumulate and wreak havoc in the body. Fragrances negatively impact the lungs, liver, immune system, and nervous system. Below are some examples of the trouble they can cause. 

Weakened Immune System

The heavy usage of fragrances has been especially concerning while living in a time when so many are concerned about staying safe and healthy amidst a new virus. Why am I even suggesting a correlation? Well, a fragrance is dangerous in that it exposes us to hundreds of harmful chemicals. And that’s just in one product. Add up all of the various fragranced products most people use in a day and there’s a perfect storm for a perpetual weakened immune system. I’m talking air fresheners, perfume, body spray, shampoo, lotion, laundry detergent, candles, and on and on. Any product you might use that has fragrance in it is exposing you to a plethora chemicals. 

Your immune system can easily be lowered for days after exposure to a heavy dosage of air freshener, cologne, perfume, or another fragrance. 

Feed Bacteria and Viruses

Because fragrances lower the immune system, viruses and bacteria have an opportunity to come in and thrive. Not only because the immune system is weak, but because the viruses and bacteria can feed on the toxic chemicals. Viruses and bacteria are literally provided food to thrive from these toxins. This can lead to illness or flare-ups for those already dealing with illness.

Burden the Liver

Toxic accumulation (of various forms) is the biggest reason for chronic symptoms and conditions. When breathing in these vaporized toxins, we are swallowing them. They go into the intestines and then the bloodstream and then liver. This accumulation usually results in reduced liver function. The liver is the superhero of  the body. Without it, nothing is possible. Check out more about the importance of liver health.

Hinder the Lungs

These chemicals can disable the ability to smell while releasing vaporized toxins into the air you breathe. These vaporized toxins are hard on the lungs. They build up a waxy, oily, chemical residue in your lung sacs which can potentially reduce oxygen capacity. 

Increase Nervous System Sensitivity

The chemicals in fragrances are neurotoxins. If you are someone with a sensitive nervous system, or suffer from anxiety, depression, dizziness, brain fog, tingles and numbness, tics and spasms, burning skin, migraines, eye floaters, body pain, fatigue, Lyme disease, lupus, MS, or fibromyalgia, it is important to avoid chemical fragrances as much as possible.

Getting Rid of Fragrances

Here are some tips on getting them out of your life as much as possible.

  1. Remove Fragranced Products in your home or car. The list is long. I suggest you start replacing the products you actually might need like detergent, hand soap, or shampoo with unscented products or products that only use pure essential oils. When it comes to air fresheners, toss them. 

  2. Address the Root Issue. Many people are using air fresheners to cover up a bad smell. If you address the odor and resolve it, you don’t need to cover it up anymore. Cleaning more often will help with this. Clean with natural products!

  3. Use Pure Essential Oils. You can put essential oils on your skin rather than perfume or body spray. You can also use an oil diffuser with 100% pure essential oils. If you get scented products, be sure they only contain pure essential oils (oftentimes they will have some essential oils AND fragrance so be sure to read). 

  4. Air out the home more often. This is in support of a cleaner home. The air in the home can get dingy and start to develop a funk if one doesn’t clean enough and allow fresh air in. No need for air fresheners if the air is kept fresh. 

  5. Invest in an air purifier. This will improve the quality of your air and help with any odors.

Fragrance Allergy

This is typically developed due to someone already having a couple things going on. 1) Their liver isn’t functioning very well. Further toxic accumulation is felt immediately upon exposure. Detoxing is essential for everyone on the planet, but especially those suffering from symptoms and conditions. 2) A high level of pathogens are present in the body. As I mentioned above, the toxins in fragrances feed viruses and bacteria. This is often what’s happened when someone smells a fragrance and then experiences a migraine, fatigue, itching, brain fog, etc.

I used to suffer from this myself. Even though we don’t have fragrances in our home, I would go out and smell something and feel it immediately. Now, this never happens. I still get bothered that the air is contaminated with these toxins, but it doesn’t cause symptoms. If you suffer from this, I can help you stop having to manage this and truly heal from it. You might want to check out more about chemical sensitivity.

Anyone with symptoms or conditions of any kind would greatly benefit from steering clear of fragrances as much as possible. Fragrances have slowly been introduced as more and more normal over time. Once we are informed about the dangers of them, we can make better decisions to keep ourselves and family healthy. Blessings!

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