Secret Scents: What is Hiding in Your Scented Products?

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Artificial Fragrances Contain Allergens

You’ve been buying them forever – the lotion, the deodorant, your favorite shampoo. These products may be serving a purpose in your life but they’ve got a secret that you might not be happy about. Most conventional personal care, cleaning and perfume products contain artificial fragrance. You may have even seen the word “fragrance” on the label of a product you have at home. What you probably don’t know is that fragrances can be made up of over 100 different “top secret” chemicals. And many of these chemicals trigger allergic reactions as well as other harmful effects in sensitive people.

Transparency is Key

Manufacturers don’t want to disclose these ingredients because they feel they are proprietary secrets – and unfortunately under current regulations, they are not required to. But if fragrance ingredients were listed on a product label, many people could avoid the specific ingredients they are allergic to.

Women’s Voices for the Earth, a fabulous organization dedicated to eliminating toxic chemicals from women’s lives, just released an important report: Secret Scents: How Hidden Fragrance Allergens Harm Public Health that emphasizes the widespread impact of fragrance allergies. They’ve put together a terrific infographic (shown below) with details from the report.

What Can You Do?

  • Avoid products that do not disclose ingredients
  • Ask the fragrance industry to stop keeping fragrance ingredients a secret
  • Ask your legislators to support the Safe Chemicals Act and the Safe Cosmetics Act

WVE Infographic Final


Do any of your favorite beauty or cleaning products contain artificial fragrance?

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(photo credit: Maggie Osterberg via photopin cc)


About Micaela

Micaela Preston is a marketing and communications consultant specializing in natural, organic and eco-friendly products and the health and wellness space. Micaela is available as a social media manager, green lifestyle writer, public speaker, brand ambassador and marketing manager.


  1. I just wanted to say thank you! I’m following the WVE campaign on fragrances very closely, and have participated in one of their phone conferences. I’ve also been working with Moms Clean Air Force. The more people that spread the word, the greater awareness we can build! My daughter has a severe allergy to artificial fragrances and has been hospitalized because of it. Her symptoms are respiratory, resulting in coughing and difficulty breathing. As you can imagine, this impacts all areas of our life. My greatest wish is for public knowledge about artificial fragrances, so that you they are not so common in stores and public places (especially air fresheners in public bathrooms). This makes it very difficult to go out in public.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter Heather. Thanks for all you've been doing too! I'm optimistic that the Safe Chemicals Act will get passed and we will all be able to breathe easier!


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