Sweet Smell of Excess

Sweet Smell of Excess
Sweet Smell of Excess


Avoid wearing perfume and using other products with fragrance. Phthalates not only often appear as an ingredient in fragrance, but they also often hide behind the term “fragrance.”

Seek fragrance-free products. Avoid synthetically scented products such as candles and household cleaners, and opt for unscented products whenever possible.

Beware deodorants and other personal care products that are marked “unscented.” The cosmetics industry is woefully unregulated, and companies often use reassuring labels that carry little meaning. Many of these products contain masking fragrances to cover up a chemical smell; these fragrances in turn may contain phthalates. Look instead for products marked “fragrance free.”

In its Household Products Study, Silent Spring Institute researchers found that fragranced products—including perfume, air fresheners, and dryer sheets—had the largest number of target chemicals and some of the highest concentrations.

Fragrances are added to products to achieve a desired scent or mask other scents. More than 3,000 fragrance ingredients have been reported, and a fragranced product may contain as many as 300 different chemicals. Exact formulations tend to be protected from disclosure.

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