Perfume Pollution as Harmful as Cigarette Smoke

Many workplaces, health clubs, yoga studios, and other public settings are going scent-free, banning perfumes and scented products and the “perfume pollution” they leave in their wake. Currently, many people suffering from asthma, other respiratory disorders, environmental illness, chronic fatigue syndrome, and even healthy people suffer from perfume exposures, which linger in the air long after the wearer has left. 

 
There are potentially over 500 chemicals just in the ingredient "fragrance" in perfumes. Many of these synthetic chemicals are derived from petrochemicals and are proven neurotoxins (meaning they can cause damage to the brain and nervous system) and carcinogens (linked to cancer). The research is shocking, as I learned while researching and writing my books The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan and The Brain WashMany of the chemicals in perfumes and other scented products are as harmful as cigarette smoke. Most people realize the dangers of exposure to cigarette smoke, including second hand smoke, but aren’t aware of the equally damaging chemicals in perfumes and colognes. 
 
If you can smell it, it’s because these toxic synthetic molecules from perfumes are entering your nasal passages, giving them direct passage into your brain, mostly unimpeded by the blood-brain barrier. Even if you can’t smell perfumes, you may be suffering ill effects from exposure.
 
Arguably the most powerful organ in the body, the brain governs thoughts, moods, emotions, movement, speech, and all the body’s functions.  Until recently, scientists believed that this mysterious organ was protected by an impermeable mechanism known as the “blood-brain barrier.”  This is only partly true. Recent studies show that this system allows many environmental toxins including those found in perfumes and other scented products access to the delicate brain, and that once found in the brain some can take decades to eliminate – decades that can result in damage in the form of inflammation and plaque build up in the brain – two of the precursors to serious brain disorders.
 
Some of the most common chemicals in perfumes are ethanol, benzaldehyde, benzyl acetate, a-pinene, acetone, benzyl alcohol, ethyl acetate, linalool, a-terpinene, methylene chloride, a-terpineol, camphor, and limonene. While some of these chemicals are harmless, most in this ingredient list can cause irritability, mental vagueness, muscle pain, asthma, bloating, joint aches, sinus pain, fatigue, sore throat, eye irritation, gastrointestinal problems, laryngitis, headaches, dizziness, swollen lymph nodes, spikes in blood pressure, coughing, and burning or itching skin irritations. 
 
That perfume or cologne that you think makes you smell attractive is more likely damaging your health. In an upcoming post I’ll share ways you can protect your brain from harmful substances using food, herbs, and other natural options. Also, check out my article, “Brain Healing Power of Periwinkle” http://www.intent.com/blog/2009/04/20/brain-healing-power-periwinkle
 
Michelle Schoffro Cook, DNM, DAc, CNC is a best-selling and six-time book author, whose works include:  The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, The Brain Wash, and Healing Injuries the Natural Way.  She is a doctor of natural medicine, doctor of acupuncture, holistic nutritionist, and energy medicine practitioner.  Her work has been featured in/on:  Woman’s World, First for Women, Dr. Roizen’s YOU: The Owner’s Manual Radio Show, Gaiam Life, Yahoo! Shine, and The Huffington Post.  www.TheLifeForceDiet.com.
 

Comments

  1. Glad you found it helpful. Most people just don't realize the potential health hazard in fragrances. Beware of all the room deodorizers and air "fresheners" too. Most worsen air quality.

    Michelle Schoffro Cook, DNM, is a best-selling & 6-time book author

    The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, The Brain Wash, and Healing Injuries the Natural Way.
    http://www.TheLifeForceDiet.com

  2. New research on some chemicals that have been in use for years is showing that they can actually be more harmful at SMALLER doses. For many years scientists believed "the dose made the poison," meaning that small doses may not be harmful. But, due to research on numerous chemicals' ability to mimic hormones or cross through the blood-brain barrier, this belief is not always correct. You're far better off using 100% pure essential oils. They smell better, are free of chemical toxins, and offer aromatherapy healing benefits too. Most health food stores are carrying them or alternatives to perfumes made with them. You'll love them!

    Michelle Schoffro Cook, DNM, is a best-selling & 6-time book author

    The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, The Brain Wash, and Healing Injuries the Natural Way.
    http://www.TheLifeForceDiet.com

  3. ank you, Michelle, for raising awareness of this— and it's not just perfume and cologne per se, although those are the most concentrated. It's also scents in soaps, fabric softeners, room deodorizers, detergents, body care products– no one has ever researched what the compound effects of all these fragrances are. Walking down a city street or through a crowded area, like an airport, we are constantly being bombarded although many of us have become de-sensitized and don't smell them.

    I also agree with your recommendations of essential oils, which have many uses for health and also smell good.

    For the Health Outlook, sign up for free at: http://www.health-journalist.com

  4. You're absolutely right, Alison. Chemical fragrances are used in all kinds of household items. Fabric softeners are among the worst culprits. And all these plug-in and spray room deodorizers are chock full of toxins we should never be inhaling. Few of these chemicals have been tested ON THEIR OWN, never mind in COMBINATION the way we are exposed to them. Thanks for your valuable comments. Completely accurate!

    Michelle Schoffro Cook, DNM, is a best-selling & 6-time book author

    The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, The Brain Wash, and Healing Injuries the Natural Way.
    http://www.TheLifeForceDiet.com

  5. That's right, Michelle, and the sad thing is that people don't realize that all of the things we are talking about are a problem until they develop illnesses, which is unfortunately more and more common nowadays. I recently spoke with a woman who had a serious health condition. She was a long time meditator and yogi who regularly fasted and cleansed, but was unaware of the dangers of the chemical exposures she was receiving. When we went through a checklist, it was truly astounding; and likely contributed to her serious illness. The assumption is that government regulations protect us from anything unsafe, which as you point out, is not the case.

    Walking in NYC, a friend and I passed a building where the exhaust from the washers and dryers sent a blast of chemicals out onto the street for all passersby to inhale. We next sat in a restaurant and midway through the meal, a man wearing heavy cologne sat next to us. Although he undoubtedly could not smell his cologne and had doused himself with it, we smelled it even when we moved to a table across the room. I had a conversation the other day with an ENT doctor who says that loss of smell and taste is on the rise– no wonder given all of this!

  6. Perfume pollution has become a serious problem, which is obvious from your experience of not being able to get away from scents. And, you're so right, some of the chemicals in scents actually cause loss of smell, which may be why some people seem to bathe in perfumes or colognes and don't seem to smell the vapor trail they're leaving behind them. I've been in rooms that still stink 10 minutes after the culprit has left.

    Michelle Schoffro Cook, DNM, is a best-selling & 6-time book author

    The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, The Brain Wash, and Healing Injuries the Natural Way.
    http://www.TheLifeForceDiet.com

  7. Michelle….pheremones and do they ever "moan"

    Peace Mona Lisa Smiles(+)

    Dom DO-ZEN with ZAZEN on the HORIZEN in my ZENDOM

  8. I've known the ill-effects of the chemicals contained in perfumes and cleaning products. Before menopause, they would trigger migraines. Now they give me a headache. When someone is around me that smells like they've marinated in perfume, I just let them know that I am allergic to the contents contained in their fragrances. It's offensive. I found that people are considerate once they know that it causes a problem.

  9. Cigarette Lighters – Everyonedoesit.co.uk is the leading online bong shop in the UK, which offers a vast range of cigarette lighters, smoking pipes, water pipes, hemp products and other thousands of smoking lifestyle products at incredible prices! Worldwide shipping is available on most of the products.

  10. Everyonedoesit.co.uk is the leading online bong shop in the UK, which offers a vast range of cigarette lighters, smoking pipes, water pipes, hemp products and other thousands of smoking lifestyle products at incredible prices! Worldwide shipping is available on most of the products.

    Regards,

    Cigarette Lighters

  11. This is a wonderful informative website and I applaud your efforts and all the important

    hard work you're doing. It gives me hope! I created a blog about the same critical issue

    and I'm doing what I can to raise awareness on this critical vital issue from my own

    personal experience. The blog discusses everything related to big tobacco, non-smokers'

    rights, and all the health dangers related to smoking and having to breathe secondhand smoke and secondhand smoker's breath. I invite you to please take a few moments to take a look and share it with those you love and care about and help them quit the nasty ugly habit. http://www.smoke-screen.org

    Thank you,

    Amanda