HELEN is a Freo resident who’s finding synthetic fragrances oozing out of every pore of the city, and she reckons it’s a real headache – literally.
I USED to go to many shops around Fremantle, from the small boutiques to the large supermarkets and often supported local businesses with purchases.
However in recent times there’s been an increasing use of highly fragrant chemicals within most of theses businesses.
The big stores are releasing it through air conditioning and the small stores are using scented candles, infusers, reeds in bottles, pumps, etc.
I feel so sick going in, that I can no longer spend my money in these places.
There are whole shopping centres and toilets using such extreme levels of fragrance it’s out of the question to enter.
The effect on me is to cause flickering of my eyelids, a headache and my throat starts to constrict followed by coughing.
Although I don’t use these products every time I go out, I come home with clothes reeking of fragrances due to being in contact with other people and furniture etc.
They are so pervasive in every part of the surrounding environment that simply washing clothing is not enough to get rid of the contamination.
In addition to this, every person I pass almost without exception, is overwhelming by the fragrance which is coming off them from detergent used to wash clothing.
The smell carries on the wind, hundreds of metres away across an oval.
Indeed it is a Bio haZard! These products that big industry has been promoting in the form of highly fragrant detergents, cleaning products, plug in air-fresheners, smelly candles, reeds in bottles, infusers etc. can contain irritants such as sensitisers, toxic chemicals, carcinogens and hormone disruptors among others.
Fragrances in detergents have been found to be indestructible; they never break down.
Grey water systems cannot break them down so they filter out into the environment, causing extreme sexual deformity in fish because these fragrant chemicals act as hormone disruptors.
I am horrified by the extremity of the fragrance coming off young mothers in particular with young children, the detergent meets me down the street well before they do.
Synthetic fragrance is most dangerous to newborns and young children who absorb these chemicals into their blood stream which in turn filters throughout their organs.
Animals are particularly susceptible and so are children and mothers of child bearing age.
Any time a product claims to have “ fragrance” in it, that fragrance can consist of hundreds of chemicals, none of which the company has to declare.
Limonene and pinene are commonly used in fragrances and when combined with oxygen, produce formaldehyde, a carcinogenic substance.
Beware “green wash” too, as that does not mean all of the chemicals in the product may have been declared.
When people use fragrance their olfactory sense switches off at a certain point and they become so accustomed to what they are using that they cannot detect the smell.
I have always loved essential oils and my fair share of perfumes but these days big industry is pumping these products out to people with no little or no regulation.
My neighbours fill my air 24/7 with what is highly likely to be formaldehyde as a fragrance pumping out of their bathroom windows.
The environment around me is so affected by these chemicals that almost every house I pass and every street I walk down, reeks of these fragrances and I’m hard pressed to find any natural smells such as trees and flowers.
There are laws in other parts of the world where fragrance is banned from the workplace and strong perfumes are now banned in schools.
I avoid visiting friends whose houses are full of these products to avoid a headache and feeling sick and I feel concerned for their animals and I have stopped spending money locally.
In a time when the pandemic has hit local businesses hard, they ought to give a thought to those who like me suffer from the abomination which is synthetic fragrance.
It’s local business that is missing out and it’s our animals and children who are most at risk of these chemicals.
Buy ‘fragrance’ free products unless you are 100 per cent certain of what you are using.