What is fragrance and why should you avoid it?
Feb 12, 2013
What is fragrance and what is it used for?
Fragrance can also be called perfume, or scent.
What's the problem with perfume?
The problem is that most manufacturers won’t disclose what’s in their fragrances, claiming that they are proprietary and commercially sensitive. While this is true, the issue is that if manufacturers don’t have to tell consumers what’s in their scent, they can use any number of toxic ingredients, and you won’t know.
The International Fragrance Association has published a list of some 3,090 ingredients used in consumer products. Run your eye down this list of ingredients, and you’ll find plenty of scary stuff. The fragrance compound in a product can contain:
- Allergens and sensitisers
- Endocrine disrupters
This is why so many people can throw up allergies to perfumes and why it's so hard to tell what's causing the problem!
How do I avoid fragrance?
Synthetic fragrances are the problem. If you do want to use products with a scent, choose the ones that use essential oils, especially organic essential oils or natural fragrances, so you can avoid the toxic chemicals.
If you choose unscented products, be aware that unscented doesn’t mean it has no phthalates, so make sure to ask questions from the manufacturer. If they won’t tell you, shop elsewhere.
EWG says, “fragrance free” or “unscented” means a product has no odour. But synthetic ingredients are often added to mask odours. Products without the word “fragrance” on their label should be OK. As always, read the label at the back of the product, not at the front!