It seems like the world is awash in scents of all kinds, from simple perfumes to scented candles, laundry products and personal hygiene items. Even many hotel rooms and taxis are beginning to come with a “signature” scent — all to the detriment of people with allergies or who simply don’t like the scents. According to Time Health, the problem is so severe that many people suffer migraines and breathing problems from this new scent-laced world.
One key problem with this is that manufacturers of these products are not required to disclose the ingredients, and are self-regulated through the International Fragrance Association (IFA). Manufacturers develop their fragrances by mixing a chemical cocktail to produce a scent, without regulation for the long-term consequences of exposure to those chemicals.
A study published in 2011 found over 25 different air pollutants, including those known to cause cancer, such as benzene and acetaldehyde, in the chemicals released by dryer sheets and fabric softeners. From chloroform to benzyl acetate to ethanol and more, several known carcinogenic compounds were found to be wafting from common household cleaning products.
In Europe, more than 1,300 chemicals are banned from use in lotions, soaps, toothpaste, cosmetics and other personal care products. Contrast that to in the U.S., where just 11 are banned — which means that if you live in the U.S. you’re on your own for protecting yourself from the onslaught. You can do this by “going green” all the way and refusing to purchase scented products, and switching over to organic brands of toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics.