by guest blogger Ava Anderson, natural-beauty expert and safe-cosmetics advocate
It might smell delicious and divine, but that pleasant scent designed to evoke happiness and fond memories is most likely a concoction brewed from an unknown mashup from a list of 3,000 of potentially dangerous chemicals.
Chemicals hidden under the term “fragrance” or “parfum” on product labels are legally concealed as “trade secret” ingredients. So when you see these words, think “hidden chemicals.” More than 95 percent of these chemicals in synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemicals. These include: benzene derivatives, aldehydes, phthalates, and a host of other known toxins that are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, nervous-system disorders, allergies, asthma and headaches—some of which are even cited on the EPA’s hazardous waste list. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has said that fragrance is one of six categories of neurotoxins that are damaging to the brain.
So remember, if your nose can smell it, it’s adding to your body burden of harmful chemicals. This holiday season “just say no” to synthetic fragrance. That perfume, cologne, or pretty candle (in addition to your everyday deodorant, lotion, and lip balm!) probably contains dozens of harmful chemicals, and is certainly no “gift!”
Here are 4 more reasons to “just say no” to synthetic fragrance this holiday season:
1. Phthalates have been detected in the bodies of 97 percent of Americans tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some have been shown to disrupt hormone activity, reduce sperm counts, cause reproductive malformation, and have been linked to liver and breast cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Additionally, studies by the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center link fetal exposure with autism, ADHD, and neurological disorders.
2. Styrene. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) a committee “confirmed that styrene, a chemical building block used to produce a wide variety of everyday products, can cause cancer.” The report, issued this summer, endorsed the 2011 finding by the National Toxicology Program that styrene is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” and stated that some studies would support “a strong argument for listing styrene as a known human carcinogen.”
3. Synthetic musks have been identified by the EWG as being found in human bodies, including infants’ umbilical cords, and are suspected hormone disruptors. Some can affect androgen, estrogen, and progesterone receptors. Some increase the risk for estrogen-responsive human breast cancer cells. Synthetic musks concentrate in human body fat, breast milk, and the environment.
4. Parabens are synthetic preservatives known to interfere with hormone production and release. One study documented that both methylparaben and bisphenol A, or BPA, which is ubiquitous in our environment, caused healthy breast cancer cells to behave as cancer cells, and more shockingly rendered tamoxifin ineffective.
Concentrate on gifts for your loved ones this year with health and prevention in mind. They will thank you. Attach this article to your gift to help them understand your choices if they specifically asked for a favorite perfume.
Note: Purchasing unscented products is no guarantee as “fragrance” may be found in them as masking agents.
At the age of 15, Ava Anderson launched her line of personal-care and home-cleaning products, Ava Anderson Non Toxic. Now 20, Ava is educating hundreds of thousands of American families annually on the issue of toxic chemicals in personal-care products through her line, which now includes baby, skin, hair, body, cosmetics, men’s, candles, bug, home, sun, and pet products. As an undergrad at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Ava actively helps run her large company with 30-plus employees and thousands of Ava Consultants in every state in the nation. Her goal is to force a paradigm shift on the issue of toxic chemicals in products—with your help.