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Perfume Stinks (for fertility, that is)
a blog by Marie Lee
Oh irony or ironies, but PERFUME, that seductive smelling stuff, may be bad for your fertility. This thought first occurred to me when I read an article in the New Yorker about how they make perfumes. I was surprised to read that instead of boiling down flowers or something, even the expensive French perfumes are made in the lab; they get their scent from a combination of chemicals that produces a particular scent. That is, in the labs they’d found certain combinations of weird chemicals produce the smell of, say, lilac or bacon. The former they put in perfume; the latter they might spray on your fast food hamburger.
Further, many perfumes use musks, either synthetic or natural, and scientists worry that these, too, may mess up our hormones in ways we can’t predict. The Environmental Working Group, which has been following an ingredient called musk ketone, a common ingredient in perfumes, says, “High serum levels of musk ketone in women may be associated with gynecological abnormalities, including mild insufficiency of the ovaries and compromised fertility.”
If you’re sensitive, like I am, even getting a small whiff of perfume can make my stomach upset or irritate my eyes. No wonder: The National Academy of Sciences reports that 95% of the chemicals used in fragrances today are petroleum-based chemicals, including known toxins capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.
A-pinene, for instance, can damage your immune system -- or your baby's immune system. Many of the alcohols such as aldehyde can cause kidney damage and have been linked to cancer.
Do you want to do that to yourself, your partner, or your baby just to smell good? I think not.
Our course, some women like to wear perfume, especially on a special occasions, and so I’ve searched high and low and found a line I recommend: Sea Chi’s organic jasmine solid perfume (a bonus? You can bring the solid perfume on the plane).
Jasmine is a scent long known to promote fertility. I liked it. I thought it faded fairly quickly (which I kind of liked…no headache), but if you use commercial perfumes, you may find it a bit evanescent for all the money you will pay for it.
Its makers do note:
“Natural Perfumes do not stay on the surface of the skin as do synthetics. There is really no creative natural solution for the issue of longevity. In the world of modern perfumery they are adding synthetic molecules that are actually related to plastic and this is what adheres to the skin and causes things to last longer. Indeed perfumes were meant to be changed throughout the day according to the rhythms of the day and night just as perfumes were meant to be changed during different seasons of the year. I think education is the best thing. There are many, many exciting things yet to be discovered in the years to come- a sort of reawakening to the wonders of natural perfumery."
I can agree with that message. The FDA does not regulate perfume (or cosmetics) so they don’t even have to tell you what’s in it. But if you are able to find a label, look up some of those weird sounding chemical names and you will probably be unpleasantly surprised.