Episode 16 of The Rad Show Podcast: Fragrance Toxicity Found In Body Care Products. One of the main things to consider is hormone balance when it comes to the daily functioning of your body. One of the largest disruptors of hormones is products and of course food. Even if we don't have a surfaced hormone imbalance, over time, this can change. Our skin is one of the largest cells on our bodies and it absorbs all. Your skin is not a barrier. A protector of internal organs, yes. But in no way is it a shield that blocks itself from harmful chemicals. In fact, it is quite the opposite where anything you put onto your skin is absorbed straight into your bloodstream and to all your vital organs.
Pretty crazy right? So if you think about it, what kind of stuff do you put on your skin daily? Soap? Lotion? Shampoo, conditioner, perfume, makeup, clothes, and water. Maybe more. Of these things, which are scented? soap, conditioner, perfume, makeup, and clothes. Now, what if I told you that scents or fragrances are toxic? So let's talk about that, let's talk about fragrance toxicity found in body care products and fragrance in general.
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Fragrance on a product label represents a mixture of various chemicals and ingredients, added to provide a specific scent. It’s one of the only ingredients that doesn’t have to be fully disclosed on the label, meaning there is a loophole in our products that allows companies to use the term rather than being honest and give the full deets, RED FLAG alert!
The average fragrance product contains 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label. These unlisted ingredients often include carcinogens, allergens, respiratory irritants, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxic chemicals, and environmental pollutants.
There’s an argument that not disclosing the “fragrance mixture” protects company trade secrets, this is often a use at your own risk situation. Unfortunately, we can’t rely on labels to know what hazards may lurk inside our most cherished products.
And unfortunately, once you start looking for it, you’ll quickly realize this toxic mix of ingredients known as “fragrance” is added to nearly every product on the market. Take a look at the ingredient list on the back of the products you love and use every day. Can you find fragrance?
Negative Side Effects To Fragrance
-Causes headaches and negatively affects the brain.
-Irritates the skin
-Flares up allergies, asthma and respiratory distress.
-Harms the reproductive system.
-Can cause cancer.
Think back to a specific situation where you were in direct contact with heavy fragrances (Hollister, Bath & Body Works, Victoria Secret, Yankee Candle) you may have gotten a headache or started to sneeze or feel wheezy. Maybe you broke out in hives or skin rashes after applying a product or lotion, and maybe it's all starting to come together, lightbulb!
But here is why those things might happen, we already went over how the undisclosed mixture of fragrance "includes" dozens of different chemicals. Now, we’re going to take a look at the actual chemicals that are in the term fragrance.
The International Fragrance Association published an online “Transparency List” of about 3,100 stock chemical ingredients that are used in fragrance, this list is continuously growing and is up to 6,000 now.
And of those, 95 percent of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum, crazy right? These include dozens of toxic chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, and allergic reactions.
Chemicals Found Inside Fragrance
These are some of the most powerful endocrine disruptors around. They act by interfering with testosterone, which is critical to male development AND female hormone balance. This includes fertility, genital abnormalities in boys, reduced sperm counts, endometriosis, and elements of metabolic disruption. These including obesity, insulin resistance, and Type 2 Diabetes.
Many phthalates have been banned or are restricted in other countries, but they’re still allowed in the U.S., meaning Americans are at risk for developmental and reproductive toxicity. Phthalates often hide under the “fragrance” ingredient, but they can also appear on ingredient lists as phthalate, DEP, DBP, and DEHP.
This next chemical turns up in automobile exhaust, cigarette smoke, and could lurk in various sprays and liquids you’ll find in the cosmetic and cleaning aisles of your supermarket. If a company doesn’t fully disclose that it contains this chemical (which it most likely will not) then the only way you’ll know it’s present is if you use a mass spectrometer!
Many fragrance mixtures rely on synthetic alcohol made from petrochemicals, rather than organic, undenatured alcohols made from corn or sugarcane that’s distilled right from the plant. These harsh alcohols are rough on the skin, so it’s important to avoid ingredients like ethanol.
These chemicals have been used for decades in “fragrance” mixtures and are added to everyday products. Some musks irritate the skin, or trigger allergic reactions.Ccertain musks have been linked to cancer, can harm the nervous system, and also harm fertility.
How To Stay Fragrance-Free
Making your own products is the only way to determine what is actually in your products.
Even after everything we have just covered, if something says free of phthalates doesn't necessarily mean that the product is safe. Unfortunately, It’s difficult to know what these disruptors have been replaced with.
If the chemical of concern is absent from a product does not guarantee that it’s safe, as there is no guarantee that there are no other compounds in those products which might be harmful.