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Continuing our Labeling Reading Tips For Product Safety Series....
Tip number three, I can honestly say shocked me the most. I've always known the fragrance ingredient was synthetic and should be avoided, but I had no clue that fragrance was in fact a blanket ingredient.
A blanket ingredient made of at least 4000 to 5000 separate chemicals. This important tip should be considered when reading labels. Taking into account WHERE it places on the label (amount), it should be understood that the word "fragrance" contains undisclosed ingredients (chemicals) that may contains substances such as:
Formaldehyde - Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen (causes cancer). Causes allergic, irritant and contact dermatitis, headaches and chronic fatigue. The vapor is extremely irritating to the eyes, nose and throat (mucous membranes).
Parabens - Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products. Widely used even though they are known to be toxic. Have caused many allergic reactions and skin rashes. They are highly toxic. Parabens are also hormone disrupters and have been shown to be reproductive toxin in animal studies. Parabens have been detected in breast cancer tumors and may cause contact dermatitis.
Phthalates - Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break. They are often called plasticizers. Some phthalates are used as solvents (dissolving agents) for other materials. They are used in hundreds of products, such as vinyl flooring, adhesives, detergents, lubricating oils, automotive plastics, plastic clothes (raincoats), and personal-care products (soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, and nail polishes). - CDC.gov Health risks include; reproductive and human development - HealthyChild.org
Additionally, symptoms from fragrances, reported to the FDA include headaches, dizziness, allergic rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and skin irritation. Clinical observation proves fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, and irritability.
Fragrances are considered trade secrets and its ingredients do not have to be disclosed. A good rule would be to avoid products that contain fragrances. Do not be fooled by "natural fragrances". This too, is vague. Besides, there is no such thing as a natural fragrance. The only natural scents there are are essential oils extracted from plants such as lavender and roses by example. Products with natural scents should freely list the essential oils used. By extension, the word "flavor" in an ingredient list, is vague and may possibly be a blanket ingredient like fragrance, whether it is defined as "natural" or "artificial".
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Label-Reading Series on TheOliveParent
Stay tuned for the final tip on label reading!