You only have to step into the fragrance section of any department store to feel the dizzying, sinus-burning, headache-inducing impact that commercial perfumes have on us. They actually cause pain, don’t they?
Most of these fragrances are riddled with petrochemicals and phthalates, which are known to disrupt our endocrine system and cause breast cancer, obesity and fertility problems among many others. They’re formulated with potentially hundreds of chemicals at a time that cause hormone imbalances, ADHD, diabetes, obesity, cancer, nervous system disorders, asthma, and allergies—and if you’re spritzing yourself every day with one of the big-name brand’s secret formulas, you could be heading towards a pretty bleak future of poor health.
WHAT’S ACTUALLY IN SYNTHETIC PERFUMES?
For most of the big brands, the short answer is: we don’t know. Because the major labels are protected under intellectual property laws—their fragrance formulations are a ‘trade secret’—they don’t actually have to tell you what they’re poisoning you with. Isn’t that scandalous?
If you haven’t made the switch to natural body products and perfumes yet, you’ll notice on many of your products’ labels that one of their ingredients is ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’. This single ingredient is actually several chemicals—potentially even hundreds of chemicals—which are known to be harmful to your body.
It might sound like a conspiracy theory, but it’s true: none of these ingredients have to be disclosed or tested for health and safety.
But that hasn’t stopped ethical researchers from getting to the bottom of these dirty little secrets. The Environmental Working Group (a non-profit group dedicated to protecting human health and the environment) estimate from a study that 72% of products with the ingredient ‘fragrance’ contained phthalates and petrochemicals. Groups like this are working slowly towards stopping these practices, but we’ll have to wait and see what the future holds.
So, what if you buy ‘unscented’ products instead? Sorry guys, these ones are even worse. They’re actually still a fragranced product, with a masking fragrance added in—so they’re doubly fragranced, and doubly chemical. And if you choose ‘natural fragrance’ products? There’s still no guarantee they’re safe: capitalising on the green movement, the big companies often attract people with products labelled ‘green’, ‘natural’, when they actually emit just as many toxic chemicals as regular products—because the essential oils are processed with a toxic solvent. There’s only one way to get away from the chemicals in fake perfumes: go natural!