I got a massive headache yesterday from being around too much department store perfume in a closed setting. I find this disconcerting because I am not a sensitive person otherwise. It leads me to believe that this is an extremely toxic substance and could be contributing to numerous health problems in people. The Environmental Working Group rates synthetic fragrance as an 8 out of 10 for toxicity.
The problem is that it is in basically everything – from household cleaners to hair mousse – but what I find particularly offensive is when ‘natural’ companies put it in their products and give their customers the misleading idea that they are using something non-toxic. You have to be a smart shopper. If there is a label to read, look for ingredients listed as parfum, perfume or fragrance. If it is an essential oil, it will be listed as the Latin botanical name with it’s common name in parenthesis i.e. Lavendula angustifolia (lavender).
Here is a list of scents that are likely synthetic because there is no common way of extracting it from nature:
Non-citrus fruits: apple, banana, coconut, mango, papaya, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, cranberry, grape, pineapple, pumpkin, watermelon, peach, pomegranate, fig, cherry, melon.
Desserts & Sweets: Caramel, butter cream, coffee cake, creme brûlée, maple sugar, cake, coconut cream, candy, amaretto, bubblegum.
Some Flowers: Lilac, lily of the valley, orchid, plumeria, freesia, peach blossom, cherry blossom, sweet pea.
Other misc. scents: Rain, ocean, fresh laundry, amber, musk, cucumber.