Perfume is BIG business
Perfumes and other fragrances are big business
worldwide. When Coco Chanel introduced Chanel No. 5 in
the 1930's, it was a huge event. This marked the beginning
of the synthetic perfume industry, which rakes in $ billions
in profits every year.
Companies spend fortunes on fancy bottles and glitzy
promotional campaigns. Celebrities have perfumes made
for them and market them to the max. Consumers
dutifully line up to spend even hundreds of dollars on a
single bottle of a hot fragrance.
Perfumes and fragrances are found both "straight" as
products in themselves and as additives to other products to
improve their appeal to consumers. Manufacturers know
that the nose is boss; what "smells well, sells well."
MAINSTREAM PRODUCTS HARM CONSUMERS
The only problem is that mainstream industry, as usual,
adds toxic chemicals
to the perfumes and fragrances it pushes on the public and
withholds this fact from consumers. In our opintion, this is
utterly criminal activity. And it has gone virtually
unpunished for decades.
Recent information we encountered about just one group
of chemicals commonly added to commercial fragrances and
many other cosmetics is startling. This family of
chemicals is called phthalates (pronounced THA-lates).
Below is an excerpt from a CNN online article: ---
A report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) said
the chemical in question is called dibutyl phthalate or DBP.
Phthalates are a class of industrial plasticizers that were
invented in the 1930s. They are often used in cosmetics
because they make nail polish flexible, help bleed the
chemicals of fragrances, and help lotion better penetrate
the skin. They aren't always required to be labeled on
Lab animals given dibutyl phthalate had higher numbers
of offspring with birth defects, especially of the male
In September, The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention released the results of a study that tested 289
adults aged 20-60 for seven metabolites associated with
exposure to various phthalates and found it was present in
all of those tested, with women of childbearing age having
the highest levels.
Jane Houlihan, Senior Analyst at the EWG, said women
between the ages of 15-45 are probably exposed to dibutyl
phthalate through cosmetics and
particularly nail polish.
"We think that women of childbearing are should avoid
all exposures to dibutyl phthalate when they're considering
becoming pregnant, when they're pregnant or when they're
nursing," Houlihan said.
Link to full article:
WHAT DO PHTHALATES DO?
The Environmental Working Group's review of the scientific
"Scientists have shown that phthalates can damage the
female reproductive system, but it is the male reproductive
system that appears to be more sensitive. Phthalate
exposures damage the testes, prostate gland, epididymis
[definition below], penis, and seminal vesicles [definition
below] in laboratory animals (see, for example, Mylchreest
et al. 1998). Most of these effects persist throughout the
animal's life and include, specifically: Testicular
atrophy - a defect that leads to reduced capacity to form
sperm and male sex hormones; Hypospadias - a defect of the
penis in which the opening occurs on the bottom of the penis
instead of the tip; Undescended testicles - a condition in
which the testes fail to descend into the scrotal sac during
pregnancy; Ectopic testes - a condition in which testes
are grown outside the scrotal sac; Absent testes - testes
are not formed at all; Absent prostate gland - the
prostate gland contributes liquid secretions to semen;
Absent or small seminal vesicles - these structures, like
the prostate gland, contribute liquid secretions to
semen; Reduced sperm count - leads to reduced fertility;
Malformed or absent epididymis - the epididymis is the
structure where sperm mature and are stored."
COMMON PRODUCTS CONTAINING PHTHALATES
Another consumer health watchdog group, Healthcare
Without Harm, tested 72 of the following kinds of
cosmetics: Nail polish, fragrances (perfumes, body
oils, etc.), hairsprays, deodorants and lotions.
Fifty-two of these contained phthalates as ingredients,
though none were listed on the labels.
Most of the phthalate-containing products are household
names: Aqua Net Professional Hair Spray; Degree
Original Solid Deodorant; Nivea Crιme lotion. Two of
these were in the fragrance category: Elizabeth Arden's Red
Door fragrance; Calvin Klein's Eternity perfume.
OTHER TOXINS IN PERFUMES
Phthalates are not the only toxic or suspect
ingredients found in mainstream perfumes and fragrances.
According to Richard H. Conrad, Ph.D., author of
"Perfume Expose," the synthetic fragrances used in cosmetics
(and cleaning products) may contain hundreds of chemicals.
There is no way to know what they are, since on the label it
will simply say, "Fragrance." Some of the problems caused by
these chemicals are headaches, dizziness, rash, violent
coughing, vomiting, skin irritation - and the list goes on.
Fragrances draw from up to 5000 hydrocarbons. Some
hydrocarbons are formaldehyde, styrene, toluene, phenol...
hydrocarbons can cause depression, exhaustion, anxiety,
dizziness, headaches, trouble thinking clearly, diminished
blood flow and brain damage, not to mention possible
Due to laws protecting trade secrets, ingredients are
not required to be listed when used in fragrances. Thus
mainstream cosmetic companies can and do hide their
poisonous concoctions behind the label "fragrance."
Since we know that mainstream cosmetic products
including perfumes commonly contain phthalates and other
toxins not listed on the labels, our wisest choice as
consumers is to avoid such products.
So what are we to do if we simply love perfume??
Fortunately for us, there exist safe natural alternatives!
Pure plant essential oils blended together in an organic
base are a phthalate-free way to wear and enjoy scents.
Even here, though, caution is advised. Cheap
so-called "fragrance oils"
are on the market that may contain solvents or other
unlisted chemicals, extenders, even artificial scents. In
general, if a fragrance is cheap, is REALLY strong and LASTS
a long time without need for re-application, it's probably
fake or has synthetic chemicals added to it.
The thing to do is deal with smaller companies that
seem to have integrity,
a personal mission and a definite natural philosophy across
the boards. We
have found not one of the big corporations that truly gets
this right - and
it may be a long time before they do, motivated as they
normally are by profits and stock price rather than by
honest help to the consumer.
Give your nose and your health a real treat! Use
natural perfumes and
We hope this information helps you and your family.
To our health!
Kevin and Evan
2004 by Organic Beauty, Inc.
Do not copy without author's permission
Disclaimer: The above information is presented for
educational purposes only. The reader should consult a
licensed health practitioner for his or her health needs.
This article was used, with permission, from the Evan's
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