Fragrances and Perfumes - Why are they Harmful?

Harmful chemicals hidden behind the word “Fragrance” or “Perfume” can be linked to hormone disruption, allergies, migraines, diabetes, asthma, chronic lung disease, kidney damage, reproductive problems and even cancer. Do you use any products that contain fragrance or perfume?

Yes, fragrances can make us and the things in our home smell really good. They can even make products seem more effective and healthier, but nothing could be further from the truth!

Hidden behind these “pleasant scents” are typically harmful chemicals, derived from petroleum or produced synthetically.

Did you know that 3,163 ingredients hide behind the word “fragrance.”?! This is a term that the cosmetics, personal care, cleaning and candle industries use on their labels that discloses only that there are unnamed harmful chemicals in the product. When you read “fragrance” on a label, read it as hidden harmful chemicals that affect your health.

How do companies get away with it? There is a major loophole in the FDA’s federal law that states fragrances are a “trade secret” and the ingredients do not need to be listed, so their formula cannot be easily replicated. Companies that manufacture personal care products are required by law to list the ingredients they use, but fragrances are exempt!

Here are some of the most common toxins found in fragrances:

  • Parabens: These are synthetic preservatives known to interfere with hormone production and release.

  • Phthalates: They are used to make fragrances last longer. This carcinogen has even been banned in many countries (EU, Japan, South Korea, Canada, China). It is a potent hormone disruptor and has been linked to a lower IQ in children whose mothers were exposed to phthalates during pregnancy. It is also considered an “obesogen,” which means it can cause you to gain weight, regardless of what you eat or your activity level.

  • Synthetic Musks: Linked to hormone disruption and thought to accumulate in breast milk, body fat, umbilical cord blood and the environment. Some artificial musks have even been linked to cancer.

So what can you do to avoid fragrance? READ ALL LABELS CAREFULLY!!

Avoiding all products that do not fully disclose all their ingredients or that contain the word “fragrance” or “perfume” is the first step. While some products say “natural,” “fragrance-free,” “unscented” or “free and clear,” you still need to be careful. Often this means they contain a harmful chemical that masks the scent of other chemical ingredients.

If you do not know if your products are safe check out the list on the website of the Environmental Working Group (EWG Skin Deep database at The EWG has also created an app called “Healthy Living,” which has a database that contains most of the major brands of the most commonly used beauty products, household cleaners and so on. To determine if the product in question is safe, scan or browse it and if the product is in the database you will see a detailed breakdown to see whether the product is safe or not.

Thankfully more and more companies now truly advocate for better and safe products, and here are some brands we recommend:

  • Beautycounter - Beautycounter has a great variety of safe beauty and hygiene products for the whole family.

  • Youngliving - Not only essential oils but they also have house cleaning products, clothes detergents.

  • Dr. Bronners Soap Company - American producer of organic soap and personal care products.

Truly the best option is to only use products that use essential oils and isolates from botanical ingredients such as flowers, fruits, seeds, bark, leaves, wood and other natural raw materials. These may cost more, but are worth it since they won’t pose health risks. After all, you can’t put a price on your family’s health.

Do you suspect your health has been affected by harmful chemicals?

With Nutrition Response Testing® we can determine if your symptoms are directly related to having been exposed to harmful chemicals from products you use daily.

Call us today to see if we can help!

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"Our purpose is to safely support those who are looking to improve their health through nutrition.  We do this by using Nutrition Response Testing®, whole food supplements, and most importantly, dietary changes.  Our mission is to help as many people as humanly possible be healthier and happier without the use of unnecessary drugs or surgery."

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