I just found the page of the Canadian Lung Association. A really superb site that tell you all you need to know to be a better allergy friendly person.
What do we mean by “scents”?
When we talk about scents, we mean fragrances, aromas or perfumes – anything that adds a smell to something else. Scents can usually be found in personal care products, such as perfumes, aftershaves, colognes, shampoos and conditioners, soaps, body lotions and deodorants. Scents are also found in household items, such as air fresheners, deodorizers, candles, some laundry detergents, fabric softeners and cleaning products. Scents can also be found in the workplace (e.g. cleaning products, adhesives, caulking).
How can scented products affect mine and others health?
Chemicals used to add scents to products can cause serious health problems for some people, especially for people with lung diseases such as asthma or COPD. Being near a scented product can make some people sick.
Scents enter our bodies through our skin and our lungs. The chemicals in scents can cause many different reactions. Even products containing natural plant extracts can cause allergic reactions in some people. While some people are only mildly affected by scents, others have severe reactions. Some common symptoms include:
- feeling dizzy
- feeling tired or weak
- shortness of breath
- cold-like symptoms
- worsening asthma symptoms
What ingredients are in scents?
Scents are usually made from a mixture of natural and man-made chemicals. A typical fragrance can contain between 100 to 350 ingredients. The problem with scented products is not so much the smell itself as the chemicals that produce the smell.
Scented products can contain several toxic chemicals that constantly turn into vapor in the air and attach themselves to hair, clothing, and surroundings. Most (95%) of the chemicals used are synthetic compounds made from petroleum. These include chemicals made from benzene, aldehydes and many other known toxins and sensitizers2.
One commonly used chemical is diethyl phthalate, which is used to make scents last longer. It can cause allergic skin reactions (contact dermatitis) and is classified as a skin sensitizer and a reproductive toxin, according to HAZ-Map: Occupational Exposure of Hazardous Substances of the National Library of Medicine of the United States.” (Source: lung.ca)
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