One of our values as a family is health, and as part of that, I want to know what ingredients are used in our food, our personal care products, our cleaning products…anything we come into contact with on a daily basis. Over the past 3-5 years, I’ve done extensive research to identify products that are safe and effective for us to use. I’m sharing my personal conviction with you in the hope of helping you reduce the chemical burden on yourself and your family.
Many of us read ingredient labels on our food like we’re studying for the bar exam. We know what we put into our body matters. But what the things you put ON your body or the things you put into the air or on your clothes? Household cleaners? What about the products you use on your kiddos?
While those lists can be overwhelming to navigate and define, I can tell you one word you don’t want to see on your products – fragrance. Go ahead, take a look at your lotion, your detergent, your kids’ body wash. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you may want to find something new. That fresh lemony scent is hiding something very dirty. Your Christmas tree candle is bringing tidings of headaches and nausea.
Although it seems innocent, companies use the term “fragrance” to disguise harmful chemicals, and guess what? They’re protected by law. “Fragrance” is not just a smell. Fragrance (or parfum) as an ingredient item can contain any combination of chemicals, and it’s deemed a “trade secret,” so companies don’t have to tell you what it actually is. That’s shady, and it’s not OK with me. These chemicals can cause adverse reactions ranging from minor skin irritations to cancer.
Here’s a specific example of what can be hiding behind “fragrance.” According to an Environmental Working Group (EWG) study, 72% of products with the ingredient “fragrance” contained endocrine disruptors called phthalates, which have been linked to diabetes, obesity, liver and breast cancer, hormone disruption affecting fertility and development, as well as linked to ADHD and Autism in first and third trimester prenatal exposure.
Studies like this are highlighting the need for increased transparency in the way personal and household products are formulated. I’ve even seen fragrance described as “the new secondhand smoke,” because people who use perfumes, room spray, dryer sheets, detergents, lotions, etc. with fragrance then bring it out into the world for others to breathe.
So what can we do? Don’t go throw away everything in your house. Start with one item and find a safer alternative. Educate others, and use the power of our pocketbook. Look for labels that don’t list “fragrance.” I’ll be among those leading the fight. Especially when it comes to our babies. I hope you’ll join me.
What are your favorite fragrance-free products? Drop a comment, and let us know!