Why artificial fragrances are BAD NEWS for your pets (and for you)
First things first – how do you tell when products (household, laundry, personal, perfumes, pet products etc.) have artificial fragrances in them? These artificial fragrances are poison for your pet. You need to get them out of your home!
You need to develop ninja level label reading skills. The labels on the products tell the story (though with some of them you’ll literally need a magnifying glass to be able to read the print). If you see the words ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ on the label, this tells you that there are artificial fragrances in the mix.
And… A sneaky heads up- I have noticed a few supposedly ‘natural’ brands sneaking in artificial fragrances with a new term – ‘nature identical fragrance’. This means it’s synthetic. And should also be avoided. The term ‘natural fragrance’ on labels also cannot be trusted. There is no definition or legislation to define this, so you’d best assume that these will be artificial too.
So what does the ‘ingredient’ of ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ actually mean? It means that this could be a mix of any of over 4000 synthetic compounds. Any individual artificial scent will include 50-300 different synthetic chemicals.
The artificial fragrances used in products are considered to be a ‘trade secret’ – so the companies don’t have to tell you, the consumer, what is actually going on. They, by law, do not have to reveal the ingredients of chemicals in their artificial fragrances.
Synthetic fragrances are mixtures of many different chemicals, most derived from petroleum (crude oil). They may include a whole range of truly toxic, poisonous substances.
Here’s a list of some, with indications of the harm they may cause. There are many more, some not studied.
- Benzophenone: endocrine disruptor, linked to liver tumours
- Butoxyethanol: long term damage to kidneys, liver, immune system, nervous system and respiratory system
- Chloromethane: acute and chronic damage to the nervous system
- Dichloromethane: linked to mammary gland tumours
- Formaldehyde: known carcinogen
- Propyl paraben: linked to breast cancer
- Styrene: carcinogen + endocrine disruptor
- Synthetic musks (tonalide, galaxolide etc.): hormone disruptors, organ damage
- Acetaldehyde: damages kidneys, nervous + respiratory systems
- Eugenal methyl ether: endocrine disruptor, carcinogen
- MEA, DEA, TEA – ethanolamines: carcinogenic
- Methanol: developmental toxicant
- Phthalates: endocrine disruptors
- Oxybenzone: endocrine disruptor
- Ethylbenzene- carcinogen
The bottom line is that having these chemicals in your home is really bad for your pets. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin. Over time, they can seriously affect the health of your pets. And your human family too!
I encourage you to go through your whole home, read every label of all household and personal products. Floor cleaners, laundry detergent (and those awful, awful dryer sheets), shampoos, conditioners, skin products, deodorants etc. You’ll probably need to throw most of them out, including many very expensive perfume brands.
Be especially aware of air fresheners of any kind – in your car, in your home, scented candles, the wands in the little bottles etc. They nearly all are PACKED with these poisonous fragrances. You will be so much better off without them.
Safe alternatives for body, home, and your fur-kids
The only fragrances I allow in my home are essential oils. In the household and personal products I use, mopping the floors, scented candles everything has to be totally free of artificial fragrances. I’m super sensitive to them- they make me physically ill. I find it hard to travel on public transport because of the reek of artificial fragrances in the perfumes, deodorants, etc.
Do you want to make sure you’re not poisoning your pets with these chemicals?
Step 1: Check the labels of everything in your home. Be ruthless, and toss everything with ‘fragrance’, ‘parfum’, ‘nature identical fragrance’, or ‘natural fragrance’ in the bin. All air fresheners must go!
Step 2: Read the labels of every new product you bring into your home.
Step 3: Never allow another artificial fragrance into your home again.
The healthy products will tend to be more expensive. Industry uses artificial fragrances because they are cheap (and nasty). Good quality organic essential oils (the only kind I use) are the best!
Essential oils to avoid for pets include: eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, pine, wintergreen, and ylang ylang – I would not diffuse these in your home- I do use these in my mopping water with no problems though!
Here are some great options in Australia.
And for perfumes/deodorants
(and here’s alink to the youtube video on this topic! https://youtu.be/GvHaSYIWf0g )