Are home fragrance oils toxic? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Since I obsessively began searching cosmeticsdatabase.com a couple months ago, I've been eliminating "toxic" products from my family's life. I'd always been conscious of such things and was a careful shopper, but it's amazing how easily nasty ingredients get sneaked in. Today I was doing a bit of tidying/reorganizing, when I spotted my home fragrance oils and burner from The Body Shop. I've had them for several years, don't use them all that much, but am now wondering - should I get rid of them? In my attempt to make my home smell nice, am I actually poisoning the air? There are no ingredients listed. I don't think I've used them since my son was born (almost 9 months ago), and now I'm especially wary for his sake. I'm hoping all you smart mamas can shed some light!
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#2 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 01:26 PM
 
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Yeah, I'm slowly phasing out all that bad stuff too. I read "Gorgeously Green" and that really raised my awareness level to pollutants in the home. Things I never thought of before. I started making my own cleaners too, using "Clean House Clean Planet".
I think anything that is a "fragrance" is potentially toxic and chemically (for example dryer sheets). I like sticking to high quality essential oils. Most natural food stores have oils and burners for them. Then you can have yummy smells without polluting your home!:
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#3 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 01:43 PM
 
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I second the pp. But I will admit that I still occasionally use scented candles in my house :.
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#4 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 02:24 PM
 
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I'd replace them with essential oils, you'll almost certainly never get to the bottom of what is in your fragrance oils and there are a lot of synthetic fragrances which are suspected carcinogens.

The Body Shop is a sham, the products contain natural ingredients but they aren't natural products, I'd go so far as to say there is little difference between BS and anything else produced by L'Oreal
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#5 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 02:27 PM
 
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The word "fragrance" typically raises red flags. That is a generic term and as far as I know is completely unregulated and *can* mean a lot of different things.

I only know a little about The Body Shop and what I do know is this company appears to be a bit more health-conscious than other such companies. I don't know how that translates to your specific products, however. Could you look them up online or call a store or independent consultant and ask more questions about the ingredients?

Meanwhile, in my readings and experiences, burning any scents ("fragrance" or essential oils) *can* irritate eyes, nasal passages, and lungs. I guess it depends on how sensitive each person is.

My personal philosophy is to keep the house clean and open the doors/windows (and/or use fans) to keep the house smelling fresh. I have found the kitchen is key to this process. On the "fresh" side, cleaning up after every meal really, really pays off!!! So does having a smaller trash can that is emptied more often (and composting and recycling whatever is possible...with reducing the volume at the forefront, of course). On the "good-smelling" side, I have discovered how nice our house smells when we cook from scratch. The cooking smells just seem "cleaner" somehow.

I do have scented products in our home and I use some of them far more often than others. The main thing for me is to burn as little as possible due to my own sensitivities. My sensitivities are lessening more and more with all the healing work I've been doing lately, so I may be able to try some of that later on again. What I do now:

~ Handcrafted scented rocks from a craft fair sit in a few open pretty dishes. These are reactivated with heat, so I set them out in the sunshine once in awhile. They can also be tossed in the bath and lots of other uses. Did I mention they are really pretty and I chose colors for specific rooms??? :

~ I have some "fragrance oils" that I still like the smell of. They were intended for those plug in things... Wallflowers, I think? Anyway, I pried open the container and poured them into an open shallow dish up high in our bathroom. Smells good, no heating.

~ I love essential oils! I use them directly on my body (diluted as necessary) far more than in cleaning products. I use plain baking soda for scouring cleaning and vinegar/water (50/50 mix in spray bottle) for most other cleaning...no scents.

~ I have pretty candles around the house. It is rare I actually light one, though. I did the other night when I took a bath (rare event) and it was nice!

I may be in the minority here on MDC and that is okay with me. I focus my efforts on what is going IN my body the most (food, supplements, air quality, etc), then what is going ON my body and staying there versus being washed off. I believe our intentions and attitude and "connectedness" play a bigger role in our overall health than some of the nitty gritty details we (as humans) tend to focus on frequently.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#6 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 02:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sunnysandiegan View Post
I may be in the minority here on MDC and that is okay with me. I focus my efforts on what is going IN my body the most (food, supplements, air quality, etc), then what is going ON my body and staying there versus being washed off. I believe our intentions and attitude and "connectedness" play a bigger role in our overall health than some of the nitty gritty details we (as humans) tend to focus on frequently.
Well, said. This is also my philosophy on this issue.
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#7 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 04:05 PM
 
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Yes, fragrance is a synthetic product, and likely toxic. I would freecycle the lot of it and get some beautiful essential oils. Or put a pot on the stove with cinnamon sticks and orange peels for a really lovely natural scent.

For me, all I have to do is trust my body to know what is and is not good for me... I love essential oils, and even those that I don't enjoy won't make me sick with just a whiff. Contrast that with anything that has fragrance as an ingredient; even walking into a room with something like Febreeze or scented candles or standing next to a person wearing fragrance, or coming from a scented home, makes me feel ill.

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#8 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 04:16 PM
 
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I wouldn't use them because I cannot tolerate synthetic fragrances including plug-ins, sprays and oils like that. I get sick, my eyes hurt, my head aches, I can't breathe right, etc., the scent lingers and sticks in m nose hairs and continues to bother me for hrs even if I have left the environment.

I'd guess oil is probably the least offensive, but honestly, even if I wasn't super sensitive to chemicals and fragrances I would avoid using them if I had kids. You just can't tell how it impacts them either now or in the future.

And I agree about the Body Shop products, they are pretty much all awful when you look at their ratings on cosmeticdatabase.

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#9 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 04:47 PM
 
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I was told that those fragrance plug in things and air fresheners are the most toxic thing in the house, typically. They actually cause nerve damage in your nasal passages.

Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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#10 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 05:01 PM
 
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I thought most things labeled "fragrance" has pthalates in it?

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#11 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 05:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
I thought most things labeled "fragrance" has pthalates in it?
Yes, that's what I've read.
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#12 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 05:47 PM
 
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we are in the process of getting ride of everything "smelly" Candles, oils, sprays, etc. and moving to essential oils. We bought a rainbow vacuum and it came with an option airfreshner (small rainbow looking thing that swirls water and "cleans" the air, I am not sure how much I believe the last part but it smells good ) I have a box ready for the avid freecycler I am hoping to be ride of it all this weekend

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#13 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 05:50 PM
 
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FYI... if you melt fragrance free wax (say, the stub of an old candle) in one of those wax melty things for warming scented wax, you can add essential oils to it and they don't get that burned-smell thing going on that happens every time I try the EOs in a warmer like that without wax.

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#14 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 05:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
FYI... if you melt fragrance free wax (say, the stub of an old candle) in one of those wax melty things for warming scented wax, you can add essential oils to it and they don't get that burned-smell thing going on that happens every time I try the EOs in a warmer like that without wax.
I put my EOs in the warmer with water. Works beautifully.

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#15 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 06:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by slsurface View Post
Well, said. This is also my philosophy on this issue.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#16 of 16 Old 02-05-2009, 08:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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See, I knew y'all could help! The oils are already out of the house (save the pure essential oil)... Good riddance!

I read something else today that said heating ANY oil is bad because it changes the chemical composition: http://www.therapeutic-grade.com/ref...edCandles.html I tend to get headaches from any kind of fragrance, so I'll likely just be using the essential oils in the shower/bath or with massage oil.
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