A multitude of products available in our day to day lives either for personal, hygienic or cosmetic purposes contain some amount of fragrance which could potentially be harmful not only to yourself but more so to your infant. Some of these fragrances or perfumes may be natural or synthetic. Being informed about the adverse effects of these scented products will enable you to create a healthier and safer environment for you, your family and your child. Women’s perfumes may contain chemicals adverse to newborns.
Many perfumes, colognes and body sprays contain chemical that can be harmful to some people’s health. Children and babies in particular have a higher risk of being exposed to harmful chemicals which can be found in these products. Their sensory organs are still new and developing, and they are highly sensitive to substances in the air and their environment. Many products that on the market, the ones we use on a daily basis, not just limited to perfumes, contain some amount of fragrance. Items such as cleaning products, laundry detergents, body lotions, shower gels and shampoos designed for babies may also contain scented chemicals.
Although we know that perfumes and common household items are supposedly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration for harmful chemical content, regulations governing the fragrance industry is separate altogether allowing loopholes whereby companies self-regulate. A study in 1995 by the Environmental Protection Agency found that 90% of chemicals in fragrances have been derived from petroleum.
Based on a study by the Agency for Toxic and Diseased Substances, compounds derived from petroleum, which has been used in a high percentage of scented products, can cause birth defects, cancer, skin irritation and may also potentially damage the immune system is exposed to over a prolonged period of time. A Greenpeace research by the Health Institute of Nevada has revealed that at least 35 well-known perfume and cologne brands contain at least two toxic synthetic chemicals – synthetic musk and phylate esthers, which are known to alter pulse and mood, blood pressure, trigger migraine headaches and change brain blood flow. The study in 1995 by the Environmental Protection Agency found that pesticide linalool, a commonly used ingredient in perfumes and colognes is known to cause depression, lethargy and life threatening respiratory complications.
As a parent, you have the power and responsibility to make your home safe for your family and in particular, safe for your baby. Choose fragrance-free products, and choose not to wear perfumes or colognes. Keep your home free from detrimental chemical exposure where possible. Read labels on the products you buy carefully as manufacturers often use ambiguous and misleading terminology to advertise their products as au naturel. Where possible, avoid using air fresheners. Buy body products that are fragrance-free both for yourself and for your baby. And lastly, buy dishwashers and detergents that are also fragrance-free as both these items come into close contact with your baby, either through using of cutleries and clothes, both of which are used on a daily basis.