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The Dangers of Scented Products and How They Can Affect Your Health

The Dangers of Scented Products and How They Can Affect Your Health

Posted on February 28 2017

My husband, Richard, has often accused me of smelling something in the atmosphere, whether in our home or outside—fumes, smoke, exhaust, fragrances--that wasn’t there, because he didn’t smell it. Well, I assure you, as I did him, I definitely did.

Although never formally tested, apparently I have a more sensitive sense of smell than most people, and, whether or not you can detect odors in the atmosphere, I have always thought certain odors can have a harmful effect.

Now, a recent study, reported in Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health, a publication headquartered in Berlin, indicates I’m right. They reported that most of us in the U.S. are regularly exposed to scented products such as air fresheners, personal fragrances, and household cleansers and that 67 percent of those surveyed were unaware that these products may emit air pollutants, such as formaldehyde, that can affect health.

Quoting from the study’s Abstract, “Overall, 34.7 % of the population reported health problems, such as migraine headaches and respiratory difficulties, when exposed to fragranced products. Further, 15.1 % have lost workdays or a job due to fragranced product exposure in the workplace. Also, 20.2 % would enter a business but then leave as quickly as possible if they smell air fresheners or some fragranced product. Over 50 % of the population would prefer that workplaces, health care facilities and professionals, hotels, and airplanes were fragrance-free. While prior research found that common fragranced products, even those called green and organic, emitted hazardous air pollutants, more than two thirds of the population were not aware of this, and over 60 % would not continue to use a fragranced product if they knew it emitted such pollutants.

Fragrance in Beauty Products

Scents are made from a combination of man-made and natural chemicals. A typical fragrance can contain 100 – 350 ingredients. Scented products often contain toxic chemicals in their vapor and attach themselves to hair, clothing and material in the surroundings.

Even “unscented” or “fragrance-free”-labelled products may contain fragrances used to mask the smell of certain ingredients.

What can you do? Plenty!

Start by using safer household cleaning products and raise awareness in your family of potential toxicity everywhere in their surroundings. Here’s a website that presents a comprehensive guide to such safer materials:


Here’s to your healthier, less toxic, clean air environment.... you deserve it!

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