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Unscented vs. Fragrance-Free: Are they chemically the same?

Unless you have ever met someone who is chemically sensitive, you might not be familiar with the terms “unscented” and “fragrance-free”. Many people believe these terms to be interchangeable, but there are huge differences between the two.

Doctor helps boy with inhaler

People who have allergies know how uncomfortable scented products are, but there are other things can cause reactions in many people. Scented products used in your home, car, or office; may cause severe problems for those who are chemically sensitive.

It is surprising to learn that millions of people around the world could be chemically sensitive and have serious reactions to many scented products. People with asthma, severe allergies, or health-related issues like lung disease; are predisposed to these types of problems.

Many scented perfumes and colognes are made using synthetic (man made) compounds that function as a propellant and even more synthetic chemicals making up the actual fragrance. The safety of these chemicals have been questioned by many groups who state that lack of government oversight and compounds labeled “trade secrets”, hinder safety organizations and federal regulators in identifying dangerous compounds. For instance, air fresheners containing the chemical 1,4-dichlorobenzene (1,4-DCB) have been evaluated to be a human carcinogen. DCB is known to cause kidney and testicular cancer in animals, as well as asthma and restricted lung capacity in humans.

Laundry_detergentObviously, if you have a family member suffering from respiratory disease, asthma, allergies, and other ailments; you would want to limit your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Even if you don’t suffer from such health problems, would you want to unnecessarily expose your family to such risk?

When you see the term “unscented”, this just means that fragrance portion of the product has been removed. It may still contain synthetic chemicals in the propellant. The best choice for your family is products labeled “fragrance-free” and products not using an aerosol propellant. Sometimes you may have to try products in your home to find the one that works best for you and your family.

There are many “green” fragrance-free products emerging such as cleaning products, laundry detergents, and even food wash products. These products are just as effective as those with synthetic chemicals, without the fear of putting you or your loved ones in danger. Keep in mind that any scented product – candles, perfume, detergent, or hygiene products – all contain a variety of synthetic compounds that may be harmful to you and your family. Choosing the right fragrance-free product for your household might be one of the best decisions you can do to make your family healthier today.

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