Eco-Coach

Green your life at home, work & play

Give the gift of smell December 21, 2006

Did you know synthetic fragrances can irritate the respiratory tract, trigger asthma attacks, and deaden your sense of smell? There are over 5,000 fragrances in products that we use daily. Most of the chemicals used in fragrances consist of volatile organic compounds, which are known to be respiratory irritants. However, because many fragrances are considered trade secrets, the chemical make-up does not need to be revealed.

If you’re considering giving gifts that have a fragrance this holiday season, such as aromatherapy candles, perfumes, and bath products, be sure that these are made of natural fragrances. Keep in mind, however, that the word ‘natural’ on the product label does not equate to a natural fragrance, so be sure to read the labels carefully. Here are some ways you can decrease the use of synthetic fragrances:

  • Use natural cosmetics and personal care products. Review the following list of companies that have pledged not to use carcinogens and endocrine disruptors in their products.
  • Switch to natural perfume oils.
  • Use beeswax candles instead of paraffin and even soy.
  • Replace air fresheners with natural essential oils.
  • Use non-toxic laundry detergent, and lavender sachets instead of dryer sheets or fabric softener (available at natural food stores such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s) or forgo softeners altogether.
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