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!