I was zooming around cyberspace looking for ways to improve my severe fibromyalgia symptoms when I stumbled on an article about how scented products negatively impact our health. After all this time, i can't remember all the details. I just remember how intrigued I was at the notion that exposure to toxic chemicals in scented products might have something to do with my current symptom pattern. 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 because that's what made me believe the article writer might be on to something.
Other people who don't have an immediate negative reaction to scented products
often have difficulty believing that scented products are detrimental to our health. Many of these folks have migraine headaches, chronic sinusitis, respiratory distress, heart palpitations, cluster headaches, abnormal neurological patterns, and a lot of other vague symptoms of just not feeling up to par. These symptoms can occur several days or weeks after exposure to the toxic chemicals in scents, so 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.
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 categorizing scented ingredients as 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. I knew that I didn't want to spritz formaldehyde. 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.
I wanted to create a healthier life, so I got rid of all the products in my home that contained the word fragrance or scent. Some products I needed to eliminate were obvious: commercially manufactured perfume, cologne, scented candles, and air fresheners. Some were not as obvious. I found fragrance listed as an ingredient in cosmetics, laundry detergent, fabric softener, toilet tissue, facial tissue, hairspray, cleaners, soap, shampoo, and many other household products that I had used every day for decades. I ditched everything that had fragrance, perfume, or scent listed as an ingredient. I found fragrance-free versions of household cleaners, cosmetics, and personal care items. l replaced each product that listed scent as an ingredient with a less toxic scent-free version.
Over time, I discovered that there were a lot of other harmful chemicals I needed to remove from my life. It took months to figure out everything that I needed to eliminate and to find appropriate substitutes. I made a lot of lifestyle changes 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.