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Fragrance chemicals & other volatile chemicals affect health

More than ¼ of Americans suffer health problems due to fragrances and other common chemical vapors in the air, indoors & outdoors.*

Tiny amounts of fragrance and other chemicals in the air can cause these health conditions or worsen them:
Asthma
Allergies
Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
Mast cell disorders
Migraine Attacks

Products that often cause trouble

Cleaning products
Laundry products
Cosmetics & deodorants
Air fresheners, candles, incense
Perfume & aftershave
Hand soaps, sanitizers & lotions
Plastic or vinyl items that off-gas
Paints, stains & adhesives

Common Symptoms

Symptoms from exposure to volatile chemicals may include…

Difficulty breathing
Headache
Body aches
Difficulty concentrating
Mood swings
Chest pain & wheezing
Dizziness
Post-nasal drip
Severe fatigue
Rash
Painful glands
Stinging sensation in eyes/throat
Excess mucous production
Anaphylaxis
… and more!

Is this a New Thing?

Chemical sensitivity is not a new phenomenon. However, it is becoming more common.

Over recent decades, chemists have been inventing petrochemicals and other new molecules to add to products like detergents, shampoos, and air fresheners. Most of these chemicals are not tested for safety. Also, the labels can be misleading, and full ingredients have rarely been listed because these products are not regulated the same way foods and drugs are.

The health effects are increasing, and if we want healthy air for ourselves and our children, we must educate ourselves and choose safer products.

What can I do?

The good news is, recently U.S. states have been creating laws and rules that require ingredients to be more fully disclosed. Here is an article about some of the new rules and how to find ingredients.

Do not assume a product labeled “free & clear” or “unscented” is actually free of fragrance ingredients.

Always read ingredients, and avoid “Fragrance,” “Perfume,” or “Parfum” which can contain hundreds of unlisted chemicals. Visit www.smartlabel.org for a greater level of details. You could download their app for access while you’re in stores.

Ask local healthcare facilities, schools, stores, and wholesale suppliers to provide fragrance-free soap and other products.

Learn about a wide range of safe and unsafe ingredients and product choices at www.ewg.org and womensvoices.org.


* A. Steinemann, Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine, Jan. 11, 2018