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The Toxicity of Fragrances

For hundreds of years, fragrances were made from benign ingredients like flowers. However, in the late ’70s and early ’80s, fragrance formulations became 95-100% synthetic. Since there are “Trade Secret” laws, perfume manufacturers can put whatever they choose in their products, including toxic chemicals. Many fragrances contain the same type of chemicals that are found in solvents. People unknowingly put these substances on their bodies, which are inhaled as well as absorbed through their skin. Many of the chemicals found in fragrances are on the Environmental Protection Agency’s hazardous waste list, so essentially people who wear fragrances are often putting hazardous waste on their bodies! Hard to believe, but true.

Exposure to fragrances can cause various symptoms including migraines, asthma attacks, dizziness, fatigue, seizures, muscle and joint pain, anxiety, depression, nausea, short term memory loss, rashes, irregular heartbeat, disorientation and others. In rare cases it can cause anaphylaxis.

Fragrances are the number one barrier that prevents some people with chemical sensitivity from attending church services. Please do what you can to help accommodate those with this condition. Consider putting an announcement in your weekly bulletin and on your church Web site such as:

Chemical Sensitivity: Please refrain from wearing fragranced products when attending church functions out of courtesy to those who are allergic to or made ill by these products. “Therefore, let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or stumbling block in a brother’s way.” Romans 14:13

For further information on the toxicity of fragranced products, see:


1. Fragranced Products Information Network:

2. Environmental Health Network:

3. Get a Whiff of This: Perfumes (Fragrances) – the Invisible Chemical Poisons, by Connie Pitts (Available at

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