Things You Should Know - Why Fragrance is Toxic

We believe in feeling the best you can, and avoiding toxic chemicals and products, so aside from covering content related directly to our products, we will be sharing information that we just want you to know.  A big conversation happening now is about fragrance, and why we should avoid most of them. So here we go! 

According to the Environmental Working Group, the average fragrant contains about 14 secret chemicals that aren’t listed on the label, many of which are linked to hormone disruption and allergic reactions, as well as about 80 percent of them not being tested for human safety in personal care products.

You may be wondering how this could even be allowed in the first place. Fragrance acts as a loophole on the FDA’s regulation of personal care products. They are considered a trade secret under the Fair Package and Labeling act of 1966, allowing companies to not list ingredients so their formula cannot be replicated easily. Unfortunately, this gives brands an opportunity to add in cost effective, but toxic, chemicals to their products to make a scent that is “better” than natural. But chemically unrecognizable to a naturally occurring scent. They use these chemicals to make sure the spray disperses well and so it lingers for longer, giving the desired effect of perfume and body spray. But at what cost?

When a product is sprayed into the air, it doesn’t just affect the person that sprayed it, but can cause many problems for other people around. It can throw their bodies into a frenzy of reactive behavior and trigger migraines, allergy symptoms, asthma, chronic lung disease and other health conditions. And even if people do not have immediate symptoms from these chemicals, due to the lack of testing these chemicals, we don’t actually know the long-term effects of spraying or rubbing them on our highly sensitive skin every single day. Perfumes are not the only culprit; these effects can come from furniture, adhesives, cleaning supplies, paints, and even paper.

EWG found that about 75 percent of products that list fragrance contains the hormone-disrupting chemical, phthalates. Phthalates used to make fragrances last longer have been linked to many hazardous health conditions, such as reduced sperm count, liver and breast cancers, reproductive malformation and diabetes. This carcinogen has been banned in many countries (EU, Japan, South Korea, Canada, even China), but our government sets such an intense level of proven harm for these chemicals that some say it’s almost impossible to reach. Companies voluntarily comply with many safety standards, but the current law does not require those cosmetic ingredients to be free of certain harmful health effects before they are put on the shelves. Even is a chemical is finally put on the chopping block, it can take years for the government to be able to phase out the chemical with the help of the Environmental Protection Agency.


Like with many other personal product worries, it’s up to us to protect ourselves. The main, and easiest, strategy is to check the labels on the products you buy. To be safe, you want to avoid any product that simply labels “Fragrance” with no other explanation. Some companies list the exact ingredients in parentheses next to the word fragrance, to see how toxic they are, you can enter them into the EWG’s Skin Deep database and see the hazard level. Some products may say “Fragrance-free”, “unscented” or “free and clear”, but be careful here as well. Many times these phrases mean that they just contain a chemical that masks the scent of other chemical ingredients. The very best option is too only use products that use essential oils and herbs, and maybe natural fragrance, to create their scented products. You can also make them yourself. You can even avoid scents all together and rely on your own awesome natural scent, often found more attractive anyway.

We also recommend watching the documentary on Netflix, Stink! 

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