You know that favorite Yankee candle of yours? Or that Febreze you spray all over your apartment to make it smell “clean”? Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that the fragrances from these products could negatively impact your health? That the fragrances they emit aren’t derived from natural sources and are actually endocrine disruptors that can impact your overall health and in turn, hormones? I know, it seems crazy that these companies would be selling products that can negatively impact your health without any sort of warning. (Also, if you’re just learning about fragrances now – please don’t beat yourself up about it.) I recently shared on Instagram that I used to be the girl dousing herself in Victoria Secret body spray and lighting ALL the scented candles. The only reason I’m sharing information on this topic is because it’s important and it’s not talked about enough. We need more discussions surrounding this topic, specifically when it comes to toxins and the way they impact fertility.
Another reason I want to share this information is because so many people simply DO NOT KNOW that fragrances impact our health so drastically. Let’s start out by discussing what an endocrine disruptor is. “An endocrine-disrupting substance is a compound, either natural or synthetic, which, through environmental or inappropriate developmental exposures, alters the hormonal and homeostatic systems that enable the organism to communicate with and respond to its environment.” (cite: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2726844/) I can and will dive into a list of the synthetic chemicals and toxins that we are exposed to in our everyday lives in a different blog post. This blog will be focused on fragrances and how they can impact your fertility, health, and the health of your children.
Another thing I’d like to discuss specifically are Phthalates, which are a synthetic chemical found in everything from carpets, to baby toys, and even cosmetics. Phthalates have been linked to fertility issues in both men and women, miscarriage, and even pregnancy complications. They are well-known (and documented) hormone disruptors, yet you can find them in almost any standard household cleaning product, Tupperware, or toy. Unfortunately, the companies who make products that use these chemicals do not share the potential risks that they carry. The CDC website even says that, “Human health effects from exposure to low levels of phthalates are unknown. Some types of phthalates have affected the reproductive system of laboratory animals. More research is needed to assess the human health effects of exposure to phthalates.” (https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Phthalates_FactSheet.html) If reading that doesn’t make you want to go read every ingredient label of the products you have in your home, I highly recommend that you go watch “Stink” . This documentary opened up my eyes to the cancer-causing chemicals that we are exposed to everyday within our own homes. But we don’t know about them because the companies who make these products don’t share this information with us.
Bottom line, this information should be shared with consumers, especially when our health is on the line (and even more so, when someone is trying to conceive, pregnant or has a newborn). We deserve to know the ingredients used in products. “Fragrance” or “Parfum” can be a mix of hundreds of chemicals, yet the full list of those chemicals won’t be included on the ingredients label itself. There should be basic safety testing for every ingredient used in products. And if the results of the studies show that they are a potential risk, they should be pulled from the shelves or banned altogether. Seems like it could be a simple fix, yet many ingredients used in products in the United States are actually banned in other countries.
Research has shown that the average woman leaves her house with up to 125 different chemicals ON her body. This includes things like shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, lotion, perfume, make up, deodorant, nail polish, lipstick, etc. There are numerous chemicals in each item listed above. I don’t know about you, but it sounds absolutely INSANE to me to be exposed to that many chemicals on a daily basis. Especially when we take into consideration that we are not told that these chemicals companies use in their products are HARMFUL to our health (and the health of our babies). Of note, any and all chemicals used in personal hygiene products can impact men’s fertility as well. Which would make for an even more difficult situation, if two people are trying to conceive but are overloaded with toxins. It makes me so sad that many people don’t know these things. This is why I’m sharing this information with you. So you can do your own research on ingredients and products and so you can “vote” with your wallet.
If you’re like me and want to read more about how fragrance and toxins can impact your fertility, I’ve included a few links to resources below. As always, if you have any questions, please reach out – send over an email to Olivia@healthybalancedbirth.com I’m more than happy to answer any questions you may have!