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Why Synthetic Fragrances are Bad for Our Health

Why Synthetic Fragrances are Bad for Our Health

                                Published on July 22nd, 2019

The Green Cleaning Revolution is taking hold, as environmentally and health conscious consumers are making more informed choices about products they’re using around the home.

However, marketing teams have found a sweet-smelling loophole.

Like me, I’m sure you want your home to smell lovely after you’ve cleaned it. Surely you didn’t think your favourite vanilla and berries multipurpose spray was created naturally, though?

Fragrance is included on the ingredient list of many popular commercial cleaning products and in most cases, has been synthetically made with a chemical mixture of up to several hundred chemicals. Unfortunately, these chemicals can cause health issues for people and are particularly problematic for those who suffer from allergies or asthma.

Why are Synthetic Fragrances Bad for Our Health?

The first Australian study into the effect of fragranced products on our health was undertaken by the University of Melbourne in 2016 and had some interesting findings. It included fragranced products such as cleaning products, laundry supplies, air fresheners and personal care products in the study.

It found that one third of the nearly 1100 participants experience an adverse reaction to fragranced substances, including respiratory problems; mucosal symptoms; migraine headaches; skin problems; and asthma attacks among others.

The study also found:

Why do Companies Add Fragrance to their Products?

It’s usually for a couple of reasons. The first is to create a fragrance – yes, we all apparently love our homes to smell like a freshly cut floral bouquet or zesty lemon. Oh, the irony of synthetically creating a naturally occurring scent …

The second is to mask an odour thanks to the sometimes-rotten stench that certain chemical combinations can create.

How can I Avoid Synthetic Fragrance in Cleaning Products?

It is difficult to make an informed decision because fragrance chemicals do not need to be fully disclosed on the label. Your best bet? If nothing other than the term ‘fragrance’ is on the ingredient list, it’s likely for a reason. Try to avoid these products altogether. Natural or green cleaning products should include information on what plant or essential oil the fragrance has been derived from. You could also keep an eye out for fragrance-free items.

My favourite natural cleaning products? Use lemons, white vinegar and Bi-Carb Soda to clean around the home. A combination of these products can clean most items and surfaces, and vinegar and lemon will disinfect against most germs.

If you still like a touch of scent, add a few drops of essential oil – I personally love peppermint. The best thing about essential oils is that you can control how much scent goes into your cleaning products and they’re completely natural too!


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