I just had occasion to look at a slide-show of a Breast Cancer Awareness event, and noticed a sponsorship banner for a prominent, national candle company displayed near the stage area. I commented to the coordinator of the event about how ironic it would be for this particular company to show interest in breast cancer awareness, since their products contribute to cancer.
She was totally unaware of the issues surrounding synthetic fragrance and cancer, so I thought I’d take a minute to go over it in this post. Oddly enough, she mentioned that this company sent unscented candles to donate to the event. When I asked why, she said that the scented candles that had been sent the year before gave everyone headaches. That’s no surprise.
Synthetic fragrances are one of the top contributors to the rise of cancer, especially among women. The reason for this is that each note (ex…apple) in a fragrance is created with as many as 300 chemicals. Many, many of these chemicals are carcinogens. This is public information folks. You can read about some of these ingredients in places like Skin Deep. You see, the disturbing thing about this is that when you read a label that says, ‘fragrance’, it will never disclose those three hundred chemicals, because that information is considered proprietary, and therefore sheltered from FDA regulated ingredient disclosure.
So, for example, let’s say you go to purchase a Burt’s Bees lotion, and it has an ingredient list with innocuous ingredients such as aloe, olive oil, almond oil, beeswax, shea butter…etc! It all looks good. Then the last ingredient is simply, ‘fragrance’. There is absolutely no way for you to know what else is in that bottle at that point, so you are being misled by the manufacturing, many times without their knowledge as well.
The funny thing is that proponents of synthetically fragranced products say that the amount needed to fragrance a bottle of lotion or a candle is so low that it doesn’t have an impact. In fact, this is quite untrue. Tests that have been done on women and men in the U.S show much higher levels of hundreds of individual toxins in women’s blood than in men’s, and they are linked to the ingredients in fragrance. Men typically want unfragranced products, women, fragranced.
The other problem as I see with this argument is this: I call it, ‘the poop in the pool’ argument. If you were swimming in a standard pool and a child released well…you know…a little nugget, would you continue swimming, and just say to yourself, ” It’s only a little bit, and the pool is so large “? Hell no! You’d beat it out of that pool as fast as you could.
That’s essentially how I see that one drop of fragrance. It suspends in the lotion or shampoo, and contaminates the whole bottle.
So, how do you know if a product has synthetic fragance in it? If it’s natural, it will say ‘essential oils, resins, or flower extracts’ right on the ingredients label.
For example, ‘lavender fragrance’ : no go. Lavender essential oil: good stuff!
Fragrance doesn’t give you cancer, what it does is enter into your body through your olfactory system (nose), get into your blood stream, and then deposit tiny amounts of these chemicals into your fat. This builds up over time. The cells become damaged. Then cancer starts to occur. The best defense against cancer is to maintain healthy cells!
So, if you have those little plug-ins in your house, take ’em out! Go to a natural products store, or a metaphysical store, and purchase a diffuser. You can even just drop a few drops of essential oils into a pan of water on the stove and lightly simmer it. The essential oils will come in little bottles, and you can mix and match them.
If you purchase products like Tide, commercial shampoos like Suave, lotions like Lubriderm…check out the labels, then chuck them, and look for unscented or naturally scented alternatives. Try your local grocery store, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, or the internet.
And about that candle company. They bought out Aroma Naturals, a wonderful natural candle manufacturer, then shut them down two years later. Just trying to kill the competition.