Fragrance Facts
By Karen Robinson, B. Sc., B.F.A. 
UPdate Fall 1997

     Most fragrances are no longer made from plant/animal products.  They are about 97% synthetic chemicals, with as many as 400 chemicals in a single fragrance.  These combine to make our neurosensors think we are smelling a particular scent.  The infinite combinations of the 4000 available chemicals used in the fragrance industry can create everything from the strawberry scent of smelly markers to the lemon or pine smell of some cleaning agents from scented garbage bags to copies of expensive perfumes.

    Fragrance chemicals are minimally regulated by government.  Some chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, and nervous system problems are still in use even after the US FDA and Health Canada requested (not legislated) of the fragrance industry that they no longer be used.  For example, the US Environmental Protection Agency found 100% of perfumes contain toluene, a known mutagen.
 Natural is not always better.  Many natural products such as citrus oils, pine terps, orris root (used in many perfumes) and many other natural substances can produce symptoms. 

     We recognize that it takes efforts to find less toxic alternative products.   There are many  listed in the AEHA Guide to Less Toxic Products, which can be purchased at most health food stores or through the NSAEHA.