by Leonie Shanahan

We organic gardeners go to great lengths to create soils full of life which in turn creates the cleanest, healthiest food possible. Keeping our food clean and free of toxic chemicals is so important, but for many people that is the limit of their toxin-free commitment.  

Have you considered the chemicals you put on your body every morning? And the chemicals in your home, car and workspace? 

Before the average woman even leaves her home each morning, she puts 168 chemicals on her body via personal care products such as deodorant, moisturiser, hair products, shampoo, soap, perfume etc. For men that number is around 85; for example, shaving cream, aftershave and deodorant.

These (usually synthetic) chemicals slowly accumulate in your body and over time will weaken your defence system, disrupt your endocrine system and may lead to cancer or other serious health issues.  

You may not be aware of it but wearing artificial scents either as perfume or other products (e.g. make up, moisturiser, sunscreen and shampoos) may cause health-compromised people to experience a serious flare up of symptoms. Even by simply walking past them! Some people may even need to carry oxygen at all times to cope with the ingestion of fragrances, whether it occurs through breathing it in or absorption through the skin. Even taste buds may absorb a smell wafting by, without the product or wearer even touching the person. Scents may also trigger asthma attacks, migraines, headaches and brain fog. It can take days or weeks to recover.

You may think it sounds crazy, but it isn’t – in Canada for example, they have a fragrance-free policy for workplaces. Do you have a neighbour who is always grumpy? Maybe her immune system has been triggered (and she is therefore feeling unwell) due to your highly fragrant laundry detergent. This is a real and challenging problem for chronically ill people who may even have to shut up their whole house until the neighbour’s washing is dry! Or consider that faint whiff of detergent on your clothes, this might be making a work friend sick!

All of the products below may contain chemicals which travel straight into your brain via your nose as you breath them in. These chemicals will affect your health.

  • Air fresheners (instead, open a window please), 
  • candles, 
  • cleaning products, 
  • laundry detergent, 
  • anti-bacterial soap, 
  • fragrant hand creams, 
  • hand wipes/baby wipes, 
  • plug-in toxic smells, 
  • fragrances in your toilet bowl, 
  • deodorisers and fresheners in your car.

The health effects of synthetically fragrant products are also passed onto unborn children. Never expose your newborn baby to any of the above-mentioned kinds of fragrances, their tiny bodies already have enough to deal with in our chemically laden world. 

Before you put anything on your skin, try asking yourself “Is this product natural, safe and therefore of benefit to myself and those around me?” Quality essential oils (Young Living and Doterra are pure sources) are a much better choice, though please bear in mind that some sensitive people may react to them as well.

Remember why we grow and eat organic food – Because we don’t want toxic exposure! We don’t want chemical build up in our body to compromise our immune system and encourage dis-ease – This is the exact reason we don’t want any chemically toxic personal care(?!) products in our home and especially, not on our bodies.  

It’s time to use our common sense about what is good for us. Ignore advertising lies and corporate greed and instead consider the integrity and ingredients of every product and discern what truly is healthy for humans and nature.

You can find more information in Kate Grenville’s brilliant book:  The Case Against Fragrance
or visit the many toxin-free information sites and shops online.