Most people are drawn to enticing smells and many spends hundreds of dollars a year on candles and air fresheners to keep their houses smelling like fresh spring air or a bouquet of fresh flowers. But have you ever noticed being in a candle shop or a section of the store where they have the scented fresheners you begin to notice your eyes itching and a headache come on? What causes this? This post is to share with you the dangers of scented air fresheners and scented candles and how these chemicals affect overall health and wellbeing.
The Truth About Those Smell Good Scents
It’s only human to seek out pleasant smells and to try to eliminate unattractive scents from our environments. However, the immediate and long-term effects of synthetic fragrance exposure is hazardous to our health. Simply adding a pleasant smelling chemical to our bodies and air will not only affect our own health, but the health of those who share the air with us. Fragrance or parfum on an ingredient list actually represents a trade secret fragrance recipe that could be made up of not just one or two chemicals, but instead, hundreds of synthetic chemicals selected from a group of over 5,000 that do not have to be disclosed or tested for safety.
Unfortunately, seeing the term “natural fragrance” or even “essential oil” on an ingredient list doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe. In a study analyzing 25 of the top selling products, green, natural and organic fragranced products emitted just as many hazardous chemicals as regular fragranced products. That’s because most essential oils in consumer products are lower grade and processed with a toxic solvent. In addition, essential oils containing terpenes such as pine and citrus oils react with ozone in surrounding air to create secondary pollutants such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, and ultrafine particles. To ensure safety, essential oils in products should be verified as organic, pure, therapeutic and extracted without solvents. I use these essential oils when it comes to my families health and wellbeing.
Dangers of Scented Air Fresheners and Scented Candles
Scented fragrances have been ssociated with diabetes, obesity, autism, ADD/ADHD and hormone disruption. Sadly not only the one wearing the fragrance is affected, but also the indoor air quality and those sharing the space are impacted.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) study, 72% of products with the ingredient “fragrance” contained endocrine disruptors called phthalates. Phthalates have been linked to diabetes, obesity, liver and breast cancer, hormone disruption affecting fertility and development as well as linked to ADHD and Autism in first and third trimester prenatal exposure. The National Academy of Sciences, working with an expert panel, stated that there may be cancer-causing chemicals in fragrance recipes, but there is no way for the consumer to make informed decisions. Up to 95% of these chemicals are derived from petrochemicals that are known to cause cancer, birth defects, nervous system disorders, asthma, and allergies. To make matters worse, many products labeled as “unscented” are actually the fragranced product with the addition of another masking fragrance. The use of synthetic chemicals to mimic natural fragrances is putting us all at risk and is in many toxic products that could be making you sick.
Alternative Options to Artificial Scents
I have to admit, I was a big fan of scented Yankee Candles, that is, until I learned the ugly truth. The great part is that we haven’t missed them at all! I have completely replaced toxic scents with my Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils. My husband comments on how nice the house smells when I diffuse and not only the amazing toxin-free aromas, but it’s benefiting our emotional and physical well-being. We have noticed a marked difference on everything from immune health, feeling uplifted and energized, experiencing less stress and overall happier and healthier. You can learn more about where to get a diffuser and pure essential oils here.
In addition to the diffuser I also think it is important to have good quality air filters to reduce toxins in the air. Here is what we have and love it! It works great and we noticed a difference in our indoor air quality almost immediately. Plants are another natural and inexpensive way to improve and clean the air in your house.