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Chemicals in Fragrance – Not all scents are created equal

from the article entitled: ” A healthy scent : how smell can affect your mood and health, ” by Kim Davis, Canwest News Service ; Vancouver Sun

It is important to note that not all seemingly pleasant scents are created equal. You may love the “morning dew” smell of your bathroom air freshener or the vanilla essence that wafts from your favourite candle. However, the aroma emanating from these products may be far from natural, let alone therapeutic.

The Nova Scotia labour department found that the air in many department stores – often replete with fragrances and scent-laden personal care products – actually contains more chemicals than the air in autobody shops. The most abundant chemical in both locations is toluene, a known toxin.

It has also been determined that, depending on the formula, there can be chemicals in fragrances – perfume and cologne – and related products that can cause cancer in some occupational settings or in laboratory animals.

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, while there’s commonly a wide range of chemicals in fragrances, the amounts of these chemicals are often very small.

The centre also suggests that in order to demonstrate carcinogenic effects, much higher amounts of the product would be required. They do note, however, that for some allergy and asthma sufferers, even the smallest amount of an odour can trigger an attack.

People experiencing multiple chemical sensitivity also report being affected, describing symptoms ranging from mild irritation, to feeling “incapacitated” and forced to avoid many public places in order to limit exposure.

Just because a scent is natural, however, doesn’t mean that it is safe. People can experience allergic reactions to even the most natural of oils and aromas.

Professionals recommend that people allow themselves to be guided by their natural preference. If you like an essential oil, you will enjoy using it. However, if you feel obligated to try one just because it is supposed to be good for a particular ailment, but you hate the aroma, it is likely your body’s way of telling you to choose something else.

Antoniak advises consumers to look for the following things when purchasing essential oils:

* Ensure that the Latin name is either printed on the bottle or that the sale staff can tell you what it is.

* Consider the price, as it is a good indicator of the quality. If all the five-ml bottles are marked the same, at least one or more of the oils is not pure.

* Avoid oils (aside from the tester) displayed under bright lights and in hot areas.

* Check the dilution of the product. One-hundred-per-cent rose oil is drastically different than 10 per cent (the remainder being a carrier oil). This can often explain significant price differences.

* Whenever possible, opt for products that are labelled certified organic or biodynamic for some assurance that they are free of pesticides and meet standardization.

Categories: Nectar Essences

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Jenny Pao, Founder

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