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Toxins in your perfumes

I recently had a debate with some friends. Should the business group that I belong to enact a “scent-free” rule? I asked that question because I had been sitting next to a really lovely young woman who was wearing perfume. For 90 minutes I sat next to her with a headache and stuffy nose that was caused by the chemicals she was wearing.

There was resistance to the potential creation of this new rule. I received concern that some people might smell bad, like BO, and that would be worse. I answered that people should bathe. Especially if attending a business meeting! And wear clean clothes. And deodorant. Perhaps a light dabbing of essential oils if something is really necessary.

Another concern was that no other business meetings make this requirement. I guess I live in a different world. The world of health. The health team business meetings I attend have a “scent-free” rule. I understand that many people don’t know why avoiding perfumes and colognes would be a good idea. So, I informed. I sent a link about how perfumes and colognes don’t have to disclose their chemical list and many of their chemicals can be toxic ( Many are hormone disrupters, messing with your thyroid and with estrogen levels. Others are allergens–triggering asthma, wheezing, and headaches.

I liken it to second hand smoke. Perhaps you like to smoke and smoking is legal, so if you want to smoke you can. But because of the health-risks associated with secondhand smoke, you can only smoke in designated areas. I do not have to be exposed to your toxins.

Now, it’s not a big deal to me if I have occasional exposure to perfumes and other chemical scents. After I left the meeting, my headache and stuffy nose resolved right away. But my point is to educate so that wrongs can be righted. Also, others might be more affected than I am.

And why do we even need chemical perfumes and colognes? Perfumes (they used to be made of natural ingredients) were made ¬†initially to cover up the fact that we stunk because we didn’t bathe regularly. Every person at my business meeting has access to a shower or bathtub, so that’s no longer a problem.

Just because other meetings have not created a “scent-free” zone isn’t a good reason for us to follow suit. My mother always told me that just because my friends were doing something didn’t mean I had to do the same if it was wrong/didn’t make sense/would be harmful/etc!

I wonder how many people suffer allergies and hormonal disruption as a result of their own use of chemical perfumes and colognes (and other chemical topical products) or as a result of regular secondhand exposure.

Think about your health the next time you spray on a scent, use Febreeze or other coverup room spray, take a deep breath of new car smell, or smell the “off-gassing” of new carpets, furniture, mattress, etc.

Some things we cannot avoid, but we don’t need to use toxic perfumes. Would you prefer a scent-free zone knowing now about the potential health impact these chemicals might have on your health? Or is the new JLo perfume just that important to you?


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