Headaches, unfortunately, are something many people deal with on a daily basis. I have suffered from neck problems and headaches for as long as I can remember. But aside from my neck causing headaches, certain smells trigger headaches for me as well.
For me, many smells trigger headaches like:
- Walking through the perfume department at a store.
- Walking through the detergent aisle at the grocery store.
- Cleaning with conventional cleaners.
- Wearing perfume or opening a magazine with a perfume sample in it.
- Febreze and other air fresheners.
I don't know why it took me so long, but I finally decided to looking into these smells that were triggering my headaches. And the results weren't pretty. Perfumes, detergents, conventional cleaning products and air fresheners contain a myriad of toxic chemicals that are harmful when exposed to. But the one I want to talk about today is “Fragrance”. It is such a simple word and it sounds so innocent, but according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: [su_quote]Fragrance is considered a trade secret, so companies don’t have to tell us what’s in it – often dozens or even hundreds of synthetic chemical compounds….[/su_quote] So basically companies can put whatever they want in their products to make them smell *good*, call it “Fragrance” and they don't have to reveal the ingredients.
What chemicals are found in “Fragrance”?
Some of the chemicals found in fragrances are cocamide dea (as a detergent), acetone, ethanol, propylene glycol (industrial antifreeze), and sodium lauryl sulfate.
What are the side effects of “Fragrance”?
Some of the side effects of these fragrances when inhaled include various respiratory irritations such as asthma, allergies and headaches.
According to site invisibledisabilities.org, the EPA conducted a study that found:
[su_quote]Numerous chemicals and organic compounds commonly used in fragrance products, including, among others: acetone; benzaldehyde; benzyl acetate; benzyl alcohol; camphor; ethanol; ethyl acetate; limonene; linalool; methylene chloride, one or all of which, or in combination with one another, cause , when inhaled, ‘central nervous system disorders, dizziness, nausea, incoordination , slurred speech, drowsiness, irritation to the mouth, throat, eyes, skin, lungs and GI tract, kidney damage headache, respiratory failure, ataxia, and fatigue, among other symptoms and illnesses.[/su_quote]
Certain chemicals in fragrances may even cause hormone disruptions and they may even accumulate in breast milk.
What safer options are available?
Some alternatives to chemical fragrances include essential oils or botanical fragrances made from raw materials obtained from nature, such as from flowers or fruits or even treebark.
Making your own cleaning products and personal care products is another great option.
Check out these helpful links for more ideas and tips to eliminate those smells triggering headaches and other harmful side effects:
50 Non-Toxic DIY Cleaning Recipes (Love the all purpose & laundry recipes in this guide)
Not So Sexy – The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance