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  1. #1

    Default Is your habit killing you?

    I had a thought earlier on today that I'd like to share with you.

    We are all gathered here today in this digital olfactory sanctum because we share a collective obsession, we like fragrances. Whether they are for our benefit or of another is irrelevant for the common thread is we purchase products that we like the smell of and then apply them to our skin.

    And that's what got me thinking - Our skin is permeable and this is partly what makes fragrances work and gives them that individual appeal but have you ever thought of what goes into that bottle? Is there a difference between what the nose perceives and the body receives?


    I came across this article that warns pregnant women not to wear perfume during pregnancy as the research suggests it could cause cancer or fertility issues later in life for the children.

    Sharpe, who will unveil his findings at a major conference on fertility in Edinburgh this week, has discovered a "time window" at 8 to 12 weeks' gestation – before some women even know they are pregnant – during which certain hormones in the foetus are activated and the male reproductive system is established.

    Sharpe has found that future problems with male fertility including undescended testicles, low sperm count and the risk of testicular cancer could be determined at this time if these hormones, such as testosterone, do not work properly.
    Interesting stuff, eh? Warnings for pregnant ladies but its AOK for the rest of us? Makes you think, doesn't it? Hold onto your scrotums, lads, its goes deeper:

    I then found this website that lets you look up whats inside your favourites. Unfortunately there isn't much on there but items like Issey Miyake and Joop score very highly on the toxic scale. Maybe we could flesh out their database to get a clearer picture of whats going on?

    My Fu then lead me this way where I picked up this little gem:

    Few people realize that there are at least 5,000 different chemicals used by the fragrance industry in the manufacture of fragrance products. Nor do they realize that a fragrance product such as perfume may contain as many as 600 individual chemical ingredients.

    Of the 5,000 different chemicals used in fragrance products, less than 20% have been tested and reported as toxic. Many of those chemicals that have been tested are regulated by the federal government as hazardous materials. The remaining chemicals have not been toxicity tested, so the health effects and regulatory potential are unknown.

    Of the 150 highest volume chemicals used in fragrance products, more than 100 can be identified in the air of a room using sophisticated testing techniques. Most of these 100 chemicals are known to be toxic.
    Before a digital hop skip and jump landed me here where I read:

    "Companies are allowed to put nearly any chemical into fragrances, with no required safety assessments, and they can keep the ingredients secret from consumers," said Stacy Malkan, a spokesperson for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

    Unlike food and drugs, cosmetics can make it to the counter without pre-approval, according to the FDA. These existing regulations predate public awareness on just how hazardous low-level toxins can be, said Malkin. Researchers found an average of 14 hidden chemicals, in group of popular fragrances that included Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, Coco Mademoiselle Chanel, Calvin Klein Eternity, and American Eagle's Seventy-Seven. The report highlights just how many chemicals have been both unstudied and unregulated.
    Unstudied and unregulated you say? Why those filthy little scoundrels, at least they ensure I get my daily dose of formaldehyde, toluene, methylene chloride, benzaldehyde, petroleum, and phthalates according to here. Mmmm, just what a growing boy needs.

    But, boys will be boys - or soon girls as endocrine disruption seems to be the main problem caused by these chemicals according to this source:

    Researchers uncovered 40 different chemicals in the perfume samples, in addition to the 51 listed on product labels. Of the 40 ingredients found, only two were listed on the label of every product containing them; the other 38 were unlisted on at least one of the 17 labels.

    Each product contained roughly equal numbers of listed and unlisted chemicals, averaging 14 secret chemicals per product. Products including more than the average number included Britney Spears Curious (17), Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio (17), Chanel Coco (18) and American Eagle Seventy Seven (24).

    The average perfume contained 10 known allergens that can trigger reactions from asthma to headaches to contact dermatitis. Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio contained the most known allergens, at 19.

    Even more seriously, researchers uncovered 10 chemicals known to disrupt the hormonal (endocrine) system, with each perfume containing an average of four. The perfumes Halle by Halle Berry, Quicksilver and Jennifer Lopez J. Lo Glow all contained seven different endocrine disruptors -- six estrogen mimics and a thyroid disruptor.

    Among the endocrine disrupting chemicals were sun-blocking chemicals, the synthetic musks Galaxolide and Tonalide and diethyl phthalate (DEP). Galaxolide and Tonalide, which have been shown to accumulate in human and animal bodies, were found in more than eight of the products. DEP was found in 12 products in concentrations from 30 to 30,000 parts per million, the latter in Eternity for Women. It has been linked to reproductive defects in male infants, sperm damage in men and, more recently, hyperactivity in children.
    Forbes go as far as to say that there are dangers in every day products, including the alleged "green" ones. But they say pictures are worth a thousand words, so feast your eyes:




    Graphics source and more info.

    See, it wasn't always this way.

    Like many other things in this twisted world things have been flipped turned upside down and I'd like to thank you for taking these minutes out and sitting right there as I explain how we got here:

    We picked this habit up from the French who used to concoct their fragrances from natural ingredients for the benefit of the landed and titled gentry, who liked to differentiate themselves from the filthy peasants in every way possible. Come the 1940s and thanks to Hitler's efforts many new industries were born thanks to the chemical boom and voilà, the modern era begins with a synthetic overload of toxic poisons, advertising starlets and horny teens attempts to grabs the bosoms of harlots by way of their nostrils.

    Ching, ching, ching go the tills as the modern peasants attempt to smell more pleasant and the equivalent gentry of yore now have their names emblazoned above the door and the latter laugh all the way to the bank as the former douse themselves in petrochemical based olfactory equivalents that have never seen a plant but do a damn good impersonation whilst simultaneously poisoning the nation.

    Makes you wonder if the real reason behind these silent reformulations is more due to certain chemicals changing their status and no longer being allowed to be used as opposed to "refreshing the range to change with the times" or whatever other PR spin or (usually) silence is forthcoming from the behemoths behind the till.


    Now you know why he smiles so, vanity always was the devils favourite sin.

    Chin chin and happy trails...

  2. #2

    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    So if I understand, I should basically stop drinking my fragrances?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    Interesting, but it's under control.

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    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    Very provocative and extremely well written. Thanks. Maybe my decades of disinterest were a blessing in disguise (beyond all the money I saved).

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    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    I never really made the connection but when a person posts their SOTD and label it "vintage," they may actually be harming their health in the process by using it. Interesting write-up, but I'm going to still use fragrances nonetheless.

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    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    Meh, we're all going to die of cancer from something in our everyday lives anyways.

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    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    These accusations are hogwash.

    1. A blog is not a credible source. For one thing, they have nothing to lose for being wrong and everything to gain if a falsehood succeeds. If CNN had a faulty study like this, it would lose a million dollars probably.

    2. Scientifically studied means numerous universities and hundreds of test subjects. Not one looney doctor who makes a statement on television, or even 100 doctors that sign a pledge. Parsimony and replicability truly matter.

    3. Correlation =/= causation

  8. #8
    Basenotes Member Niffniffs's Avatar
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    Default

    Very interesting. I will think twice in future before splashing cologne on my skin. 😕

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    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    egh whatever

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    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    And to think I was worried about that known and ubiquitous killer di-hydrogen monoxide!

    http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html
    These things cannot be long hidden: the Sun, the Moon, the Truth--Buddha

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    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    Dubious.

    Many foods we eat have never been fully analyzed to every chemical therein, and yet we eat them all the time, even spill them on our skin sometimes.

    The total amount of fragrance chemicals to which we are exposed on any given day are minuscule. Tiny concentrations of any particular chemical applied in less than one cubic centimeter quantities adds up to very little of anything.

    Granted, some carcinogens and other toxins can be extremely potent even in small quantities, but the biggest baddies such as dioxin or plutonium are well known and not likely to be found in significant quantities in day to day perfumery.

    The hormonal disruption by accumulation argument is interesting but there is not enough clear data to yet be compelling.

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    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    Very interesting post, but I just don't see that the amount of fragrance our bodies take in is an acceptable risk. I love my frags and will continue to wear them as someone else said we are all going to die of something and it may as well be by something I enjoy.
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    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    I always distrust anything that complains of "Average number of chemicals = X", as it implies the author doesn't know what "chemicals" are and assumes "chemical = bad".

    It's all chemicals - food is chemicals, flowers are chemicals, we are chemicals, we'd die without chemicals. Human, average number of chemicals = many thousands, so better not let one near you!
    Alan

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    The first example, of the 8-12 week gestation window, was interesting, because in both my pregnancies that was the period when I couldn't stand using any fragances. I remember reading in a pregnancy guide that our aversion to certain tastes and smells during those early weeks (the 'morning sickness' period) might in part be a defense mechanism to avoid damage during those crucial first stages of development.



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    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    Quote Originally Posted by mediterranée View Post
    The first example, of the 8-12 week gestation window, was interesting, because in both my pregnancies that was the period when I couldn't stand using any fragances. I remember reading in a pregnancy guide that our aversion to certain tastes and smells during those early weeks (the 'morning sickness' period) might in part be a defense mechanism to avoid damage during those crucial first stages of development.
    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
    I worked as an esthetician for many years, mediterranée, & there were a few essential oils I couldn't use on pregnant women because they could potentially induce labor. They were actually very successfully used for that purpose when needed. In today's world there are more synthetics used than true essential oils in most fragrances, but why take the chance.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    Godwin's Law towards the end...

  17. #17

    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    Oh Gawd I do find these provocative, panic inducing articles full of half truths and plain untruths a big pain in the arse. I didn't read the entire thing as the first "fact" I read convinced me that the author didn't know what he was writing about. It was stated that the skin is permeable. No, it is not. It is necessary to apply certain chemicals to induce anything to pass through the skin; those chemicals do not occur in any fragranced product.

    Once again it is not true to imply that all things natural are good and all things "chemical" are bad. Essential Oils are made of chemicals. Human beings are made of chemicals. Some of the most poisonous substances on the planet are produced by plants, and animals. Aromas chemicals (synthetics) are no more harmful than the chemicals found in Essential Oils, and as they are more pure, and have been tested more rigorously are probably safer.

    The above article states that the average number of of chemicals in a Perfume is 250; wrong. I would add a couple of zeros to that number if you include the breakdown of the Naturals present; but of course you don't have to as Naturals do not contain nasty chemicals as they are "Natural".

    The above article states that DEP can cause reproductive defects in males. There is no proof of this whatsoever.

    And on and on. It is crap. And crap with a slight evangelical tint to it.

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    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    Looks like she has a phone book in the back of her underwear...
    At least I'll smell good in my casket...
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    "horny teens attempts to grabs the bosoms of harlots by way of their nostrils."

    Is that what that lady is; in the picture? Is she? Is she a harlot? Is she? Hiding her bosom and trying to prevent the horny teens grabbing it with their nostrils? Oh do tell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Genie Jeanie View Post
    I worked as an esthetician for many years, mediterranée, & there were a few essential oils I couldn't use on pregnant women because they could potentially induce labor. They were actually very successfully used for that purpose when needed. In today's world there are more synthetics used than true essential oils in most fragrances, but why take the chance.
    Yes, I remember reading that too. Perfume is my only real cosmetic, and I like to use only a small spritz at a time to keep the scent intimate, but I've always been instinctively extra careful during my pregnancies. Besides, as I mentioned, I couldn't stand the stuff during those times anyway, either on myself or my husband!


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    Basenotes Member Niffniffs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southerngardens View Post
    Very interesting post, but I just don't see that the amount of fragrance our bodies take in is an acceptable risk. I love my frags and will continue to wear them as someone else said we are all going to die of something and it may as well be by something I enjoy.
    Do you mean that you see it as an acceptable risk?

  22. #22

    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    Never trust a woman with a bottle of Flower by Kenzo in her underwear !

  23. #23

    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    It seems everything leads to cancer, even being near a microwave has an effect on our lives.
    I want to die smelling good. Preferably with an Aventus decant in my pocket.
    The sense of smell, like a faithful counsellor, foretells its character.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    Are there chemicals on my food, is dairy bad for you, should you eat everything raw, stay away from meat, use cloth diapers, avoid parabens, don't eat too many carbs, processed food is of the devil, refined sugar is evil, corn syrup is the most dangerous thing on this planet, eggs are good, eggs are bad...wait, no they're good, no, really their bad, essential oils are the cure to everything, herbal drinks will grow back your limbs that you lost in the war, if you eat garlic not only will you stave off vampires, but you will live until you are 130, organic tastes soooo much better than non organic, and now don't spray perfume on you or you will shorten your life and die a horrible miserable death. Their are soooooooooo many fads in this world that are backed up by so many "studies" by random people that claim to be experts. I personally think that so many people buy into so many "scare tactics" that they shorten their life by all of the stress that they place upon themselves. I'll keep on spraying myself with my frags...I'm willing to take that risk. There will soon be a study that says that perfume is like the ultimate vitamin for you and it will extend your life like nothing else...then again, aren't vitamins terrible for you? I think if you use common sense then you'll find out what is an isn't good for you.

    I tell you what though, I guarantee you that smoking and drinking alcohol are FAR more dangerous than spraying a small spray of fragrance on your skin, yet people don't tend to heed to those studies that are tried and true, I'm just sayin'. Human beings are funny creatures aren't we?
    Last edited by Kybid; 13th January 2013 at 03:49 AM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    David, I've seen numerous sites (and studies, if I recall) that show that chemicals in essential oils end up in the blood stream. (not a great example, but found this with a quick search: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16557471)

    There is also known accumulation of a lot of these musks and other chemicals in fat tissue, namely women's breasts, and they then contaminate breast milk.

    I personally think that fragrance is 'worth the risk', but I don't understand those who stick their head in the sand and act as if there is no risk whatsoever.
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  26. #26

    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kybid View Post
    ...
    I tell you what though, I guarantee you that smoking and drinking alcohol are FAR more dangerous than spraying a small spray of fragrance on your skin, yet people don't tend to heed to those studies that are tried and true, I'm just sayin'. Human beings are funny creatures aren't we?
    I absolutely agree with you. Human behavior is often paradoxical. Swaying between the craving for unlimited pleasures without any consequences and the rational cognition that there are consequences and we have to take responsibility for our actions.

    I think there is more harm in overdosing washing powder (which I guess, the most people do) than using perfume.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    David, I've seen numerous sites (and studies, if I recall) that show that chemicals in essential oils end up in the blood stream. (not a great example, but found this with a quick search: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16557471)

    There is also known accumulation of a lot of these musks and other chemicals in fat tissue, namely women's breasts, and they then contaminate breast milk.

    I personally think that fragrance is 'worth the risk', but I don't understand those who stick their head in the sand and act as if there is no risk whatsoever.

    The paper you mention describes a very artificial situation; one in which the conditions have been set to encourage penetration. I repeat, very little will penetrate your skin unless there are present certain chemicals which will help that penetration. Our skin has evolved to protect us from the outside. I am aware that there have been studies which show the build up of chemicals in fatty tissue and breast milk. We live in an environment where we interact. We can breath chemicals into our bodies. We can eat chemicals that are then absorbed into our bodies. If those chemicals are not harmful, I personally don't see there is a problem.

    There is a risk whatever we do, and I do not stick my head in the stand and pretend that there is not. What I was objecting to was the hysterical, badly written, factually incorrect article that started this thread. If information is to be presented (and I think it should), then please have that information presented in such a way that we can make up our own minds without the baggage of hysteria.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    I agree David, there are negative and positive ways to go about presenting the situation. Fear mongering is just as bad, probably worse, than ignoring potential risks.

    I'd imagine a problem that is ultimately bigger and more threatening than bio-accumulation is the accumulation of these musks in our water supplies.
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  29. #29

    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    There is still a lot of work being done to show if certain chemicals (Polycyclic musks) are or are not biodegradable. The jury is still out. Most manufactures of detergents and fabric conditioners (the products that use the most PCM, and at the highest volume) no longer want PCMs. However I read a paper by P&G which showed that Galaxolide and other PCMs were in fact biodegradable, but at a slow rate. It could be said that P&G would want that to be true. It is always so difficult to get to the truth without the bias. The accumulation of these chemicals in our water supplies is one way in which they can get into us. If they are inert, does it matter?

    I repeat, the original article in this thread was scare mongering, and just plain wrong. It presented fiction as fact; that is dangerous. We should be aware of risks, and should be intelligent and informed enough to judge for ourselves what to do about them. Articles such as the above do nothing to create a rational and informed public.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Is your habit killing you?

    Average lifespan has increased over the years despite the proliferation of these questionable chemicals. Sedentary lifestyle kills more people than fragrance ever will... so there is no reason to press that panic button.

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