When I was looking for ways to improve my fibromyalgia symptoms, my first breakthrough came when I read several articles about how scented products negatively impact our health. Fragrances have bothered me for years. Anytime I'm around someone wearing perfume or cologne, I get dizzy and nauseous. I guess I'm lucky that I have an immediate negative response to fragrance. When I read how exposure to the chemicals in products that contain fragrance cause a wide range of chronic health issues, I believed the researchers were on to something. I decided to eliminate scented products from my home environment to see if that might help me feel better. I'm so grateful that I took that first step toward creating a chemical-free healthier life. Otherwise,I might still be a semi-invalid battling horrible pain and debilitating fatigue instead of experiencing the joy of sitting here at the keyboard sharing how I recovered.
People who have no prior history of an immediate negative reaction to scented products often have difficulty believing the scientific evidence. Many of these folks have migraine headaches, respiratory distress, heart palpitations, cluster headaches, abnormal neurological patterns, and a lot of other vague symptoms of just not feeling up to par. When these symptoms occur several days after exposure to scents, people often don't connect fragrance with their specific symptom pattern.The onset of a wide range of chronic autoimmune diseases may not show up until after months or years of continuous exposure. But the cellular damage is immediate and it increases over time with every exposure to every scented product.
I was flabbergasted when I read article after article explaining the scientific reasons that scented products cause damage on a cellular level to every single person that uses them. Why in the world is this stuff even allowed to be manufactured in our country?
Here's why commercially manufactured scented products are so dangerous to our health and well-being. When you see the word fragrance or perfume listed on the ingredients label for a cleaning product, personal care item, or cosmetic, this means the product may contain up to 300 chemical ingredients. Are you kidding me? 300 chemical ingredients! And they don't have to be listed individually,even if they are known to be toxic and damaging to our health. Manufacturers cover up which chemicals they actually use by slapping just one word on the label: either perfume or fragrance.The fragrance industry gets away with this by calling scented ingredients a "trade secret." Manufactures can add anything and everything under the heading "trade secret" and keep consumers in the dark.
Research scientists have analyzed which chemicals are in scented products. Just a few of the potentially toxic ingredients are: synthetic substances manufactured from petroleum derivatives and coal tar, benzene, phthalates, formaldehyde, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).These chemicals are so bad that the U.S. National Academy of Science has grouped them with pesticides, heavy metals, and solvents as chemicals that need priority study as causal agents of neurotoxicity.
Every time we use a scented product, we inhale toxic particles into our lungs and absorb toxins through our skin. They end up in the bloodstream where they have the potential to damage every organ in our bodies on a cellular level. I certainly don't want to spritz formaldehyde and petroleum derivatives and chemicals grouped with pesticides all over my house and all over my skin.
Studies show that, even at low levels,the harmful ingredients in fragrance cause fatigue, headaches, skin irritation, heart palpitations, eye irritation, migraines, nausea, tingling and numbness in the arms and legs, dizziness, increased asthma symptoms, respiratory distress, chronic sinusitis, central nervous system damage, and have been linked to several types of cancer. Do you have any of these health problems? Chronic exposure to scented products could be the culprit.
Fragrance is harmful to the health of both users and their families. Its toxic effects linger in the air hours after use. It has the potential to compromise your health, the health of your children, and the health of anyone around you. I discovered over time that there are many less toxic unscented alternatives for cleaners, cosmetics, and other household products that contain scent.
I wanted to create a healthier life for myself and my family, so I got rid of all the products in my home that contain the word fragrance. Some products are obvious: commercially manufactured perfume, cologne, scented candles, and air fresheners. I eliminated all of those years before I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia because of my prior problems with scents. However, when I read the ingredients labels on all the products I was still using, I discovered that there are a lot of not so obvious things that contain scents. I found fragrance listed as an ingredient in cosmetics, laundry detergent, fabric softener, toilet tissue, facial tissue, hairspray, a ton of household cleaners, soap, shampoo, and many other household products I used every day. I ditched everything that had fragrance, perfume, or scent listed as an ingredient. I replaced them with fragrance-free versions of household cleaners, cosmetics, and personal care items.
I eventually discovered that there were a lot of other harmful chemicals I needed to remove from my life. (Check out how to make nontoxic cleaners here: how-to-make-nontoxic-all-purpose-cleaner.html) It took months to figure out everything that I needed to eliminate and to find appropriate substitutes. But it certainly was worth the time and effort. Six weeks after I exchanged all the harmful household products I used daily for safer options, my fibromyalgia pain decreased from constant and excruciating to intermittent and bearable. On a scale of one to ten the pain dropped from ten down to five. It was the first improvement in my symptoms since being diagnosed.
I still had a lot to learn and a lot of lifestyle changes to make before I completely recovered from fibromyalgia. I took the first step toward a healthier life when I stopped using products that contain fragrance. So can you.
Do you have fibromyalgia, a chronic autoimmune disease, fatigue, headaches, skin irritation, heart palpitations, eye irritation, migraines, nausea, tingling and numbness in the arms and legs, dizziness, asthma, respiratory distress, or chronic sinusitis? Are you ready for the six week challenge? Stop using perfume and fragrance, Replace cosmetics, cleaners, and other household products that contain fragrance with unscented versions. Keep your life fragrance-free for six weeks. Share any improvements you notice in your symptom pattern in the comments section. Here's to a chemical-free healthier life for all!
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