Health + Infertility: Part Four: Fragrance

I have shared about BPA, Triclosan, and Sodium Laureth Sulfate and the negative effects these chemicals have on our health, especially related to infertility. Today I’m sharing Fragrance, which most of us think of it as a scent, but unfortunately fragrance = chemicals. Anytime you see fragrance as an ingredient it can be a combination of any 3,000 chemicals. The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973 does require companies to list the ingredients of cosmetics, but allows them to simply lump fragrance chemicals as one.


Fragrance is not just in perfume, but it a lot of other products. There are too many to name, but some include: deodorants, candles, laundry soaps, fabric softeners, cleaning supplies, lotions, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, body wash and of course, perfume. You can tell by the list that this is a chemical we are exposed to every day.

Fragrance chemicals can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion, and absorption. Once in the body they are absorbed into the bloodstream and transported throughout the body. The chemical can even be passed onto babies during pregnancy.

Many of these chemicals that make up fragrance have been proven to cause asthma, respiratory disease, skin irritations, cancer, and disrupt the nervous, immune, endocrine, hormonal, and reproductive systems. Fragrance has been listed as one of the top five human allergens. Individuals reactions to fragrance can vary widely from no effect at all to severe symptoms. Some of the negative effects on our bodies related to fertility are:

  • Damage to sperm
  • Impaired female fertility
  • Increased miscarriage rates
  • Decreased estrogen levels
  • Increased implantation failure in IVF
  • Embryo-toxic and feto-toxic effects
  • Damage to male reproductive organs in utero

There is still so much we don’t know about fragrance because of the lack of knowledge and the lenient guidelines by the FDA, but what I can tell you after reading up on the chemical is to stay away!!! Make sure to look at the back of your bottles and avoid this chemical when possible. Also, avoid using air fresheners, colognes, perfumes, etc when you can. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all these chemicals, but my advice is just to eliminate as much as possible when you can. Even eliminating one product and making a healthier version yourself or finding something that is organic would make a difference!

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  • Megan Davis
    Posted at 07:30h, 07 March Reply

    So many things to eliminate! I recently used a lotion that is all natural and homemade and LOVE it! I have eczema and it works wonders for me! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Síochána Arandomhan
    Posted at 09:47h, 07 March Reply

    Fragrance is one thing I wouldn’t miss if it all vanished tomorrow (although that would make it much easier totally avoid). I hate fake smells and the strongest ones make me nauseous. Quite happy that lots of places are now fragrance-free. Nature smells (fresh air, spring, snow….) are the best.

  • Jojo
    Posted at 12:48h, 07 March Reply

    No wonder infertility rates have gone up. It seems that everything is a toxic to our bodies nowadays. I tend avoid fragrance items without trying. Once in a while I do use perfume but not so often.

  • Emily (
    Posted at 13:18h, 07 March Reply

    I thought giving up fragrance would be so hard, esp. in all the sweet smelling lotions. The crazy thing is that once you start going for fragrance free products, the other stuff start to gross you out. Now I smell an apricot lotion and want to barf because it just smells so strong. And forget about the cheap bath and body works stuff. Seriously makes me gag now. I do, however, still love some naturally scented stuff with lavender. That is one scent I will never get sick of…that and eucalyptus. At least we can buy products with a few good naturally occurring scents still.

  • Davy S
    Posted at 15:57h, 07 March Reply

    It’s so hard to find products like shampoo without the harmful chemicals. From what I have read, many “natural” products even include them. Sometimes I feel like companies prey on our fears and charge way too much for “natural” products. It’s so hard to weed through the good and the bad and then decide which products are worth the money.

  • Lisa {Amateur Nester}
    Posted at 15:59h, 07 March Reply

    I gave up wearing fragrance a few years ago after reading a book on green beauty. I missed it so much at first, but now I find I’m incredibly sensitive to other people wearing fragrance. Funny how our noses get used to one thing.

  • Angela
    Posted at 19:57h, 08 March Reply

    How interesting!! I never even thought about this, but it makes total sense!

  • Taber
    Posted at 21:09h, 08 March Reply

    We love using it essential oils for fragrance! We smell good and get the added health benefits!

  • Buttermilk
    Posted at 21:33h, 21 March Reply

    Very interesting information…this falls right in line with a book I’m reading right now about how our industrial environment has affected the onset of puberty in girls, breast growth, cancer, and environmental toxins in breast milk. The book is by Florence Williams, called “Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History”. I’m here from IComLeavWe…promise I’m not trying to spam your blog to sell a book. 😉

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