Raising a stink about smelling good

Tip #2: Our next lifestyle tip on How to Reduce Toxic Exposure moves us from the kitchen to the bathroom. Many of the scents we use to mimic the smells of nature are anything but natural. We now understand that fragranced products we use in our beauty routines (you too, men!) are disrupting our hormones, triggering allergies and posing a risk for a range of health effects from sperm damage, thyroid disruption and cancer. Beauty just got ugly.  A new study: ‘Not So Sexy, The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance’ released by The Environmental Working Group in May 2010 revealed that many top-selling fragrance products contain:
  • secret chemicals not listed on labels,
  • chemicals that have not been assessed for safety (the fragrance industry has published safety assessments for only 34% of the unlabeled ingredients), and/or
  • multiple chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions or disrupt hormones.
Consider the effect of these endocrine-disrupting chemicals in teenagers whose hormones are already going haywire. Afterall, it is largely the teen demographic that is using popular fragrances (Britney Spears’ Curious, Axe body spray for men, Calvin Klein’s Eternity, Jennifer Lopez’s J. Lo Glow) whose chemicals have troubling hazardous properties or have a propensity to accumulate in human tissues.  What is really surprising about this study is that it concludes that we really have no way of knowing exactly which of our beauty products may be harmful. Even ‘unscented’ products may use chemicals as fragrance maskers.  So what to do? Go ‘au natural’? Not necessarily. Most products which list "essential oils" or "botanical essential oils" are a healthy choice. For now, they’re our best bet to help us come up smelling like roses.

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