Thursday, June 24, 2010

What's that Smell? Time to raise a stink on fragrance chemicals

You know you love it. Pulling that laundry fresh out of the dryer, so white and fluffy! You take a slow, deep whiff. Mmmmm, the intoxicating scent of fresh laundry!

Sounds like a commercial you've seen before, huh? According to the commercials put out by cleaning product companies, you'd think women are addicted to doing laundry. Fortunately, I'm not. I'm lucky if I even get the pleasure of clean clothes out of a load, as the machine's contents are often dominated by my bike commuting husband's clothes and those of my drooling, messy-faced toddler.

I, like so many American women, value cleanliness and the health of my family. That's why I've been using fragrance-free laundry detergent ever since I gave birth to my son. A nasty outbreak of eczema has converted my once-cavalier buying habits to being a bit of an eco-freak.

Now, a new report by Women's Voices for the Earth has drawn together many more convincing pieces of evidence that unregulated fragrance chemicals are not only ending up in our bodies, but they could be causing a host of serious health problems, including asthma and allergies among kids, increased risk of breast cancer and even some birth defects. It's all here in their report "What's that Smell."

Some tips from the report:
  • Don't always trust 'unscented.' Some companies add fragrances just so a product won't smell like chemicals. Look for 'fragrance free' instead.
  • Fabric softeners, air fresheners and laundry detergents have the highest levels of synthetic musks, which may be harmful to your health. If you're looking to phase out fragrances, start there.
  • Fresh air can do wonders! Open up a window in your car, home and office more often to get the smell out, rather than just cover it up.
  • Avoid fragranced products if you are pregnant, looking to get pregnant, or breastfeeding.
Do you use fragranced cleaning products? If not, why not? Do you have trouble walking down the cleaning product aisle in the store? If so, let me know!

1 comment:

Asianmommy said...

Thanks for the info! I am not fond of strong fragrances, anyway.

It was nice to meet you at BlogHer in NY. Hope to see you next year in San Diego!