are perfumes toxic?

Are perfumes toxic? Those store brands’ scents and perfumes are. Natural ones created at an aromatherapist’s shop are not dangerous. And some store brands are worse than others.

An ingredient list does not report each and every of the dozens of chemicals that are involved in the making of perfume.  The average number of omitted ingredients is 14, and these do not have to be listed because the FDA has granted privacy regarding their top-secret ingredients.

Looks pink and pretty, but is it?

Are perfumes toxic and possibly dangerous? These nice smelling fragrances, aka top secret chemicals, can trigger allergic reactions and disrupt hormones which cause a variety of health effects such as:

  • Endocrine disruptors and phthalates, a Washington Post report on a study from that linked phthalates and endocrine disruptors to a lower IQ for children whose mothers were exposed to phthalates during the pregnancy
  • diethyl phthalate has been linked to sperm damage
  • these scent chemicals act as allergy triggers causing headaches, dizziness, rash, hyperpigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting or skin irritation, thyroid disruption, cancer
  • Musk ketone can be a skin irritant, and according to EWG this chemical is found in both human fat tissue and breast milk
  • A large percentage of these scent chemicals have not been assessed for safety, the only limitation on fragrance manufacturers is that they cannot use banned substances
  • some phthalate chemical scents (oesogens) can make you gain weight through thyroid disruption
  • sinusitis, headaches, nose and throat irritation
  • forgetfulness, birth defects, central nervous system defects, loss of coordination, eye irritation

These scents are either absorbed through the skin or inhaled.  The synthetic musk chemicals galaxolide and tonalide have been found in the umbilical cord blood of newborn infants. These musk chemicals are found in nearly every fragrance. When ingredient lists mention perfumes or aromas, they are referring to a combined scent that is in every product. Meaning, that there could be 24 different chemicals to make that scent, but it lists it like it is only one.

Yum! the fresh scent of Ethyl methylphenylglycidate!

These scents are found everywhere,  including laundry detergent, dish washing detergent, fabric softener, soap, body wash, shampoo, hair products, hair conditioner, candles (especially when burning), and floor cleaning products. And those products that state unscented may actually have a receptor disruptor that alters the way your nose works so that you are unable to smell the odor.

I have worked with fragrance oils and essential oils on a daily business for years. I have received samples from fragrance distributors that have caused me an instant headache. I have also come into contact with people and customers who really had no idea what was a natural scent and what was not. I’ve seen people request only natural scented products in our store, yet buy the synthetically scented ones because they smell nice. I had one musk scent, that when heated in a soap base (and I was inhaling it), caused my heart to race. I’ve seen other soap makers at events actually lie to their customers saying that their soaps are all natural!

Corporations and companies go to great lengths to make their products smell nice, and they will also use the flaws in the English language to lead you to believe that their product contains only natural ingredients. At home, I use no scented products whatsoever. I have my essential oil soaps, I use essential oils to relieve headaches and muscle aches, and use same to scent my home and create perfume blends. Essential oils are easy to obtain, so give them a try!

Musk scents, the worst culprits, and the best-seller at the soap store!

Here’s a page to learn about making your own perfume oil with essential oils.

Scientific America has a great article on ‘Are perfumes toxic?’

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