Problems with Perfumes and Fragrances

Deodorizers to cleaning products, perfumes, and perfumes are everywhere. They can smell pleasant, but they contain harmful chemicals that can cause long-lasting irritation or even more serious health problems.

Fortunately, there are several natural options that will not smell and pollute the air.

History of Perfume

The perfume mentioned in Egyptian hieroglyphics dating back as far as 3,000 BCE has been around for thousands of years. BC. An ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform tablet dating from 1,200 mentions a woman named Tapputi, who painted flowers and other aromatic oils to make her perfume.

Perfumes came to Europe as early as the 14th century. There it became popular among royals (often to cover up body odor).

Ancient fragrances are derived from flowers and other natural aromatics and modern perfumes are another stories. From the late 19th century, chemicals began to isolate compounds from aromatic oils. These more stable synthetic versions have a longer scent.

Perfume is now rarely used in natural ingredients, but instead is a chemical mixture that is very different from perfumes made for centuries (and millennia).

What’s in Perfumes and Fragrances?

Unfortunately, modern perfumes are increasingly filled with chemicals. Due to a deficiency in the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973 (which requires companies to label their products other than the smell of raw materials), companies can pour unsafe or untested chemicals into products and consumers are not aware of it.

Companies can turn any chemical into a “scent” (whether or not they are actually for aroma purposes) and since fragrance is considered a trade secret, there is no need to disclose it.

When the Environmental Working Group (WWG) examined chemicals in some popular perfumes, they found that there were 14 unlisted chemicals in every perfume, some of which are called hormone suppressants and allergies. Others have not fully tested the safety of personal care products by the USDA, the International Perfume Association, or any other organization.

Manufacturers today use about 3,100 ingredients in various combinations to create perfumes and perfumes. According to a report from the National Academy of Sciences, 95% of the chemicals used in perfumery are synthetic petrochemicals (extracted from petroleum).

The three chemicals are:


This chemical has been linked to autism, ADHD, and neurological disorders and has been banned in the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Canada, and China.

Studies have linked phthalates cancer, endocrine disruption, and developmental and reproductive toxicity. Other studies have linked phthalates sperm damage and sexual development in boys.

Musk Ketone

This artificial ingredient is made from fatty tissue and breast milk. It is suspected to have cancer and is toxic to the environment.


Formaldehyde is often found in plug-in perfumes and air purifiers, among other products. The CDC recognizes that formaldehyde is a human carcinogen. The more we are exposed to it, the greater the risk of cancer. Unfortunately, formaldehyde is found not only in our perfumes and perfumes but also in many traditional furniture and building materials.

Consider: These are just three of the 3,100 chemicals used in perfumery! Clearly, they are not as futile as fragrance makers would like us to believe.

Symptoms of Fragrance Sensitivity

Many people complain of sensitivity to perfumes, laundry detergents, and other fragranced products, a 2017 study in Australia found that the concern is based on data as well. Some studies found that many residents could not be around fragrance without health effects.

Fragrance chemicals can cause symptoms such as:

  • Decreased lung function, shortness of breath, increased asthma
  • Allergy
  • Birth defects
  • Mucous symptoms
  • Migraine headaches
  • Skin problems

Obviously smells should be avoided, but odorless products are also not the answer.

What About Unscented Products?

Often, other chemicals in the product of odorless products contain odor-free chemicals, which have no flowers, musk, or similar odor. It is basically a strong odorless fragrance.

Also, there are very few traditional perfumes (or other products that contain fragrances). While it is good to label the ingredients completely, it is not so important when there are many other ingredients in these products.

Alternatives to Fragrances and Perfumes

If people have been making perfumes for thousands of years without perfumes containing synthetic chemicals, I guess perfumes and other perfumes can be made that way!

Naturally, here are some of my favorite ideas for smelling

DIY Room Fragrance

These simple homemade air fresheners are made with essential oils, so they really have health benefits! Sweet orange essential oil not only enhances mood but also has powerful anti-fungal properties. Lemons are said to have antibacterial and antiviral properties and enhance mood. Ginger stimulates the mind and provides focus and energy and also helps with depression.

DIY Perfume

As a mother of young children, I often take a bath (am I familiar?), So perfume can be quite useful. I decided to create my own blend and come up with a nice combination. Fun fact: the wearer’s body chemistry changes the smell, so it’s really custom!

Perfume for Women (or Men)

If you haven’t been to DIY (or haven’t had the time), this Alitura Presence fragrance is made with natural ingredients and it smells great!

Cologne for Men

This DIY recipe for men’s deodorant is enough to make your man smell it from the forest. My husband likes this otter wax solid cologne for men. (Environmental Working Group approves of raw materials.)

DIY Bathroom Fragrance

This natural bath spray (I call it “an-doo”) is more like a popular spray that locks in the toilet than masking the smell that has already entered the air. Again, if you can’t DIY it or not, this popular brand is free of natural and toxic chemicals.

Essential Oils

Many DIY perfumes and perfumes contain essential oils and it is also beneficial to keep these essential oils in hand.

Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a carrier oil spoon to make instant perfume oil. You can add a nice scent to the room without spraying anything by dissolving the essential oil.

There are some risks to weighing in with the benefits of using essential oils, so I will make sure to get mine (and information on how to use them) from a trusted brand. Another way to get rid of guessing by using essential oil is to help children stick to safe oils.