Why Scented Products (Fakegrances) Are Not Safe

Monday, August 11, 2008 by: Virginia Hopkins
Tags: fragrances, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) If all fake fragrances (I call them fakegrances) were banned tomorrow, the world would be a dramatically healthier place by the following day. That's not going to happen, but the more people who refuse to use them in any form, the faster they'll disperse (so to speak). But watch out, those who manufacture products containing fakegrances are sneaky. The word "unscented" usually means that fragrances have been used to cover up fragrances. To actually avoid fragrances you have to look for the words "fragrance free" on the label. By fake fragrances I mean that they're not found in nature. Oh sure, they may smell like a rose, or mint, or apple, but what goes into creating that aroma has nothing to do with the flower or fruit. Virtually all perfumes, scented laundry soaps and fabric softeners, so-called air fresheners (they should be called air poisoners) and many cleaning products are scented with fakegrances. Even dry cleaners are getting into the act, handing back clothes that are clean, pressed and exuding fragrance. Perfumes are All Fake Well, almost all. Unless they're pure essential oils, they're made from a nasty brew of dozens if not hundreds of chemicals which are, of course, a secret. For example, the benzene family of chemicals tends to have a sweetish aroma that is very popular among perfumers. The benzenes are petroleum-based, so they're cheap, easy to come by, and, by the way, a known cause of leukemia. It was one thing when a woman spritzed some benzene on her wrist before a romantic evening, but it's quite another when it's everywhere from clothes to cars to the restroom in the dentist's office. Or how about those phthalates, plastics that can interfere with the normal sexual development of a fetus or infant. Phthalates have recently been banned from toys in California which is great, but how about clothes and bed sheets? Apparently phthalates make perfumes stick around longer so they're in just about everything scented. Asthmatics Should Look for Fakegrances as Causes I don't want to downplay those good old-fashioned allergens such as ragweed and cats, but according to the Environmental Working Group, "Fragrance formulas are considered to be among the top five known allergens and can trigger asthma attacks." Are doctors giving this information to their asthmatic patients? Not very often. I'll bet you didn't know that many processed foods contain fakegrances. Take for example diacetyl, a chemical that gives microwave popcorn its buttery flavor and aroma, and also causes serious lung disease when heated and inhaled frequently. Diacetyl is being phased out of microwave popcorn, but not before many popcorn factory workers were permanently disabled by it. Now it might take a lot of microwave popcorn fumes to knock down an adult, but how about a child with asthma? For optimal health, it's important to avoid fakegrances, and it's also important to speak up if they're in a public area. You'll be amazed at how many other people will suddenly admit they hate fakegrances when you speak up. If someone in your workplace is using heavy perfume, or there's a so-called air freshener in the restroom, do something about it. You have a right to breathe clean air. How about products that claim to be "natural scented"? Sorry about that, but "naturally scented" means absolutely nothing. It probably smells like something in nature such as apple or rose or jasmine, but it's likely made from the same old nasty chemical brew, complete with carcinogens, xenohormones and allergens. The only way to be sure that a scented product is for real is to read the label. If it says, "pure essential oils" or "lavender oil" for example, it's the genuine article.

About the author

Virginia Hopkins is a best-selling author and co-author of books about women's hormones, nutrition, prescription drugs and more, including What Your Dr. May Not Tell You About Menopause with Dr. John Lee, and Prescription Alternatives.

Virginia is currently editor of the Virginia Hopkins Health Watch newsletter, at

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