By Dr. Jeannie Thomason
The most overlooked toxic chemical used on a daily basis in our homes are products that contain synthetic “fragrances”
It’s time to turn up your nose at any products that “smell”! Synthetic Fragrances are the most overlooked toxic chemical in our daily lives.
While many of us have been taught to read labels on everything we want to buy and use in our home, around our pets and family, the sad truth about synthetic fragrances is that manufacturers are not required to list their fragrance ingredients on product labels.
IF they do list them at all, most often it only one word, “fragrance”, and this word can hide a cocktail of more than 100 toxic ingredients! This is because fragrances are considered to be “trade secrets”. It is well-known that at least one toxic ingredient in “fragrance” is: phthalates.
Phthalates are just one class of chemicals typically found in fragrance,that help the scents last longer and is a known hormone disruptor. The list of health risks are rather startling and include cancer, reproductive and developmental toxicity, endocrine disruption, birth defects & respiratory problems.
Obviously, if the label lists “fragrance” or if you can smell it before you open it, and if you care about your family’s health (including your pets), then you will put that product right back on the shelf and leave the cleaning products isle and FAST! Please consider going toxic chemical free.
Even the so-called “natural fragrances” can most often be just as toxic as the synthetic fragrances, you will want to learn how to read labels and become aware of what is called “Green Washing“. (1)
Please be aware and think about this, whether it’s in a cleaning product, a dog bed, a dog toy, shampoo, or laundry detergent, fragrance chemicals aren’t actually making your product perform better – they are just giving you that perception. We’ve been trained to think that clean has a smell, when in truth that’s not the case.
“Fragrance” now lurks; in some unexpected places since it does not have to be listed on the ingredient label. They can be found in diapers, garbage bags, grocery bags, even in new fabric such as sheets, blankets and some upholstery!
Fragrance chemicals, just like all toxic chemicals, pass from the nose or the skin and into the blood.
fragrances are linked to so many profound health risks that avoiding them is probably the #1 change you can make to reduce your companion animals’ and family’s exposure to toxic chemicals. To avoid fragrances, the Environmental Working Group advises that when consumers read the word “fragrance” or “parfum” to translate it to mean “hidden chemicals”. We believe the safest choice is to always choose fragrance-free products.
For safer and still effective ways of freshening your indoor air, open windows, use fans, air purifiers that produce negative ions, diffuse 100% pure/therapeutic grade essential oils. (2)
You can keep stinky trash cans and litter boxes emptied instead of trying to cover up the smell. You can also turn to natural odor-busters like fresh flowers on the kitchen counter, citrus peels in the garbage disposal, or an open box of baking soda in the fridge and using simple, safe natural products such as hydrogen peroxide, lemons, white vinegar, borax, etc. to clean with.
I personally use all of the above along with Young Living’s toxic chemical free laundry soap, dish soap, household cleaner, shampoo (both the human and the animal shampoos), deodorant, etc. and diffuse their essential oils to create negative ions into the air and truly clean it as well as create healthy vibrational frequencies.
Synthetic fragrances are dangerous to you and your pet. Over 90 percent of the chemicals used to create them are derived from petro-chemicals. They include benzene derivatives (carcinogenic), aldehydes, toluene and many other known toxic chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.
They are most commonly found in high concentration in:
- Scented candles
- Air fresheners
- Plug ins
- Room Sprays
- Dryer Sheets
- Laundry Soap and other cleaning products
- Shampoo and conditioners (both human and pet)
Even lower concentration in some products, they can be responsible for breathing difficulties and skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, pruritus (itching). These accumulating toxins in the body can lead to auto immune disorders and cancer.
I absolutely do not have these products in my home for the health of myself and family, which of course includes my companion animals.
(1) Greenwashing is the use of marketing to portray an organization’s products, activities or policies as environmentally friendly when in fact, they are NOT. Greenwashing is a play on the term “whitewashing,” which means to gloss over wrongdoing or dishonesty or exonerate without sufficient investigation or spurious data.
Many consumers, still believe that if something is labeled as “natural” , then it is “safe”. The facts are that there are NO industry regulations for what can be labeled as “natural”.
(2) It is extremely important that you only use 100% pure, therapeutic grade pet safe, essential oils around pets. The majority of “essential oils” sold in health food stores and shops are Fragrance Grade, contain toxic impurities and most likely have been grown and produced under less than ideal conditions (not organically grown or extracted with the use of chemicals) It is these impurities and synthetic fragrance chemicals that have catastrophic consequences for pets. This unfortunately has led to a bad reputation for essential oils.
Always look for essential oils that labeled as therapeutic or medical grade and are independently tested for purity.
Please don’t confuse Fragrance Oils (or Cheap Essential Oils) with Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils.
More Information on Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils HERE
Learn About Aromatherapy For Dogs HERE
CAUTION! Read The Truth About Essential Oils and Cats HERE
*A consultation is highly recommended before any preventative program or diet change is started.
While I continue to provide educational articles and information for you here, most of these are general in nature. Therefore, I encourage you talk to set up an appointment with me to tailor a total wellness program specifically for your pet’s needs. This is particularly imperative in pets that are aging, with complicated health issues, or if you’ve done a lot of outside reading and have conflicting information.
The information on this site is based on the traditional and historic use of naturopathy, essential oils and herbs as well as personal experience and is provided for general reference and educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prescribe or promote any direct or implied health claims. This information is and products are not intended to replace professional veterinary and/or medical advice
This article is the sole property of Dr Jeanette (Jeannie) Thomason and The Whole Dog. It cannot be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the expressed written consent of the author.
©The Whole Dog, Dr. Jeannie Thomason