All the latest natural skin care, anti-aging and healthy lifestyle tips from Marie Veronique Organics.
What's Wrong with Smelling Good?
A request from one of our favorite customers, who loves all our products, inspired me to take up the topic of scents, smells and fragrances once again. She wanted to know if we could somehow nudge our products towards smelling a little more “fresh” and a little less “medicinal.” Well of course the easiest way, and the method most companies use, even when they claim “organic” status, is to use fragrance or “parfum” in their products. Seeing either or both of those words in an ingredients list lets you know that a synthetic fragrance (which can be composed of many parts or components) is being used.
The health hazards posed by synthetic fragrances are significant, and have been well documented. They include:
“In 1986 the National Academy of Sciences targeted fragrances as one of the six categories of chemicals that should be given high priority for neurotoxicity testing. The report states that 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. They include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and many other known toxics and sensitizers - capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.” (Neurotoxins: At Home and the Workplace" (Report by the Committee on Science and Technology. U.S. House of Representatives, Sept, 16, 1986) [Report 99-827] )
Fragrance formulas are considered to be among the top 5 known allergens. They can trigger asthma attacks and are classified as an indoor pollutant. Fragrance allergy is the second most common cause of contact dermatitis in the Western world, second only to nickel.
Phthalates, used to make fragrances last longer, are associated with cancer and reduced sperm counts.
Given the serious nature of the downsides to fragrances it is surprising that their use is so widespread. The main reason for this is that they cost significantly less than the natural alternatives.. Another issue is that is difficult it is to find safe and non allergenic alternatives that deliver the same “odor experience” people have become accustomed to with synthetics To keep costs in line many organic companies use fragrant citrus essential oils, not taking into account the risk of photosensitivity.
As you can see, this is not a simple matter. We do our best to deliver a positive experience while avoiding all toxins as well as essential oils that might elicit photosensitivity or an allergic reaction.
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