Many people are aware that ingesting chemicals which are obviously dangerous wouldn’t be a good thing. There aren’t many people who would want to inhale a large plume of chemical exhaust or swim around in a chemical waste dump outside the plant where fertilizers are manufactured for instance. But, many people are not aware that they are in fact, ingesting dangerous, synthetic chemicals in their environment every day. Some of which they actually choose to ingest, to metaphorically, swim in them.
I’m thinking mostly of air “fresheners”. While there are many different kinds of chemicals we ingest –somewhere around 78,000 in our modern world which we can’t even see OR smell, it’s surprising how many there are that we CAN see AND smell. Air fresheners fall into this category. We can see the light smoke wafting through the air when burned from a specialty candle or warmer. We also can easily smell them in any room we walk into when they are plugged into a wall.
What are those “yummy” smells? They smell sooo good—how could that be bad?? This is what makes these types of things so sinister. They are disguised beautifully. We inhale all those glorious smells and we feel good about it.
What is actually IN scented candle wax and room sprays (not to mention hundreds of other types of delivery systems which we inhale or soak up through our skin)? Well, many of the companies that sell this type of thing do not disclose the ingredient list thoroughly because, of course, their smells are proprietary–they don’t want to sell their secrets. But, it is easy to find generally what chemicals are used.
Chemicals like: allyl 3-cyclohexylpropionate, allyl caproate, benzyl alcohol, coumarin, ethyl hydroxypyrone, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, gamma-nonalactone and methyldihydrogasmonate. But, we don’t have all day so I’ll just discuss TWO. Butylated hydroxytoluene (also commonly known as BHT) and propylene glycol.
First BHT. The National Toxicolgy Program has concluded that BHT “is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” while BHT has been linked to an increased risk of cancer in animals, however it hasn’t been totally conclusive they say, so BHT should be an additive we “avoid.” How many people have you known that have or are currently suffering the devastating effects of cancer? I never knew ONE person when growing up that had cancer or died from cancer (surely there were of course). But every single person my grandchildren know today either have themselves, or have a friend, a family member or some other acquaintance that is currently dealing with this insidious disease. There’s not a single reason for this of course. The free community class we teach via monthly webinar gives many potential reasons for this but, knowing we can avoid some of these things I believe most people would choose to IF THEY KNEW.
There’s plenty we can’t avoid but there are chemicals we can eliminate. I for one noticed an immediate relief 15 years ago when I cut out all the perfumes, laundry smells, deodorants, scented candles etc., when I was suffering with multiple autoimmune issues. Amazing. I wasn’t well by any means but I wasn’t flat in bed either. (You can learn more about my Wellness Journey here).
What about propylene glycol (PG)? In 2005 a study was published that determined cumulative exposure to propylene glycol was connected to acute and chronic adverse effects on respiratory health. How many children are dealing with breathing issues? How many adults do we see walking around with their oxygen tanks close by?
In 2014 the National Center for Biotechnology Information report concluded that based on 44 articles this propylene glycol used in e-cigarettes (the healthier choice right?) “produced mouth and throat irritation and dry cough.”
This PG chemical enters the body as an alcohol and then it metabolizes in the body’s enzyme pathways. These pathways do not mature in humans until 12 to 30 months of age. So infants and children below the age of 4, pregnant women and those with kidney dysfunction or renal failure are not able to eliminate propylene glycol from their bodies. The FDA says that this inability to process and eliminate this product causes potential adverse reactions in infants and pregnant women as well as those with kidney problems. There’s more I learned having to do with how toxic it is not only to kidneys but also to the liver. It’s interesting that those who are “allergic” to this propylene glycol are told to avoid contact with others who might use products containing it! How many people can really walk around asking everyone if PG is in the lotion they just used?
I remember the day I walked into my grandson’s 3rd grade class. His teacher made sure the room smelled great by having no fewer than 5 air-fresheners plugged into the walls! The room was so small with 28 children packed into it and I was devastated for those children breathing these chemicals ALL DAY LONG every day. Many of them probably went home to them also. So very sad.
Wish there were an easy answer but one thing I know for sure as we demand cleaner products, more and more retailers will carry only that which there is a demand for. While we can’t avoid it in everything and in somethings the good may outweigh the bad we can still choose to do our best to eliminate the chemical smells from our homes at the very least. We can ask for essential oils that are wildcrafted and organic. We can even make our own air fresheners using these amazing smells that are REAL. Have you ever inhaled the beauty of a rose, lemon, cinnamon or a number of other living smells? They are glorious! And, they don’t hurt the human body because our bodies are designed to utilize these aromas.
Let’s look out for ourselves but especially lets look out for the most vulnerable among us—our children. Education is the key. Pass this article around and look into it more carefully yourself also. As we do we can truly impact our lives and our health for good.
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