The word perfume signifies a fragrance loved by you, wearing which might make you feel good. But, only a few amongst those many using perfume might be aware of the chemicals they are made from.
Form being used in soaps, surface sprays, body wash, air fresheners, household cleaners, laundry liquids and many all contains scents.
The fragrance chemicals are the organic compounds which vaporize in air, and it’s just the fragrance which we can smell. A fragrance mixture is comprised of a dozen or even a hundred of individual chemical.
Common chemicals present in perfumes are ethanol, acetaldehyde, benzaldehyde, benzyl-acetate, a-pinene, acetone, ethyl acetate, methylene chloride, dimethyl sulfate, and limonene. These chemicals can cause irritability, mental vagueness, fatigue, joint aches, bloating, asthma, sore throat, eye irritation, swollen lymph node, dizziness, coughing, itchy skin irritation, spikes in blood pressure, and sinus pains.
More than 98.5 percent of us are exposed to perfumes of some kind or the other. Though smelling good or clean, they might be responsible ones for making us sick.
Harmful Effects of Perfume On Health
A study done on the Australian population found out that the fragrance products can trigger adverse harmful effects on people with consequences for public health, workplaces, businesses, and social wellbeing(1). Harmful health effects such as migraine headaches, asthma attacks, respiratory difficulties, neurological problems, mucosal symptoms, and contact dermatitis are seen associated with fragranced products(2).
Acetaldehyde is a human carcinogen(3) and studies show it can cross the placenta to a fetus. Toulene or methyl benzene present in most perfumes is a well-established neurotoxin(4) and can cause loss of muscle control, brain damage, headache, memory, and problems with speech, hearing, and vision.
Studies also show that fragrances influence the psycho physiological activities of human. They affect spontaneous brain activities and cognitive functions. They modulate the activities in the brain waves and are responsible for the various states of the brain(5).
Perfumes are known to disrupt normal hormone balance leading to possible emotional concerns including anxiety, mood swings, and depression. Phthalates are the hidden chemical in the perfumes hidden under the word fragrances. They affect the hormones by either mimicking or blocking the natural hormones present in the body. It also contributes to the risk of cancer, developmental problems, diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. This endocrine disrupter also contributes to infertility(6). The hormone disruption can lead to reduced sperm count in men, early puberty in girls, and reproductive defects in the developing male fetus.
Tips for a Fragrance-Free Life
Perfumes can be damage causing and for those allergic can be a trigger for their problems. If you experience uneasiness when exposed to fragrances, few of the below-listed things can help get rid of it.
- When buying soap, detergents, baby wipes or dishwashing liquids look out for fragrance-free products.
- Flower with high fragrance affect people with asthma. Avoid planting them in your garden.
- Ask family members or colleagues to wear less heavy-handed perfumes and deodorants.
- You can also ask your employer to implement a ‘no fragrance policy’. This can help reduce the damaging effect of fragrances on the people