Synthetic chemicals in perfumes could be as bad as second-hand smoke for your baby.
Achoo! Achoo! Aren’t you familiar with that sudden sneeze when you hold your baby or take him/her close to you? Don’t always blame the weather; it could also be your clothes or the fragrance you are wearing.
Thanks to the perfume industry, many of us are obsessed with the way we smell, and cannot imagine stepping out of the house without spraying on oodles of perfume or deodorant. Of course, you might leave the house feeling lemon fresh, but have you thought about what happens to the air inside your house? What effect does the fragrance have on your baby?
“3,000 chemicals are used to make up the fragrances that are found in everyday personal products and cosmetics.”
Everyday products that contain these toxic, synthetic chemicals turn into vapour in the air and attach themselves to hair, clothing and surroundings. These products include:
- Perfumes and deodorants
- Scented hand + body wash
- Scented laundry detergent + fabric softeners
- Dry-cleaned clothes
You may not realise it, but what you wear or spray on yourself could be one of the reasons for your baby’s untimely sneezing or coughing.
Fragrance feels good for yourself, but not for your baby’s health
Since World War II, there has been a rise in the use of man-made chemicals. A lot of these chemicals, toxic in nature, are used to manufacture various personal products. On average, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US gets applications for 50 new chemicals per day. It’s a lot, and many of them are not even tested properly for their effects on health and environment. And on top of that, the laws governing the fragrance industry differ, so many companies regulate themselves.
That’s why it is essential for breastfeeding mums to avoid the use of these synthetic chemicals as much as possible. Newborn babies are extremely sensitive to these chemicals. It is not always possible, but try to ensure that other caregivers also stay fragrance-free around your baby. Trust us – your child will thank you later.
What are perfumes/scented products made of?
Most perfumes/scented products contain 97% synthetic chemicals and compounds derived from petroleum. This could lead to birth defects and acute allergies.
These products can contain up to 7000 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in various combinations that make our neurosensors think that we are smelling a particular scent and also to make the fragrance stay up to 6-8 hrs after spraying.
[US] Environmental Protection Agency study found that the pesticide linalool — a commonly used chemical in perfume — is known to cause lethargy, depression and life-threatening respiratory effects.”
If it smells good, it is not good for your baby.
Alternatives to perfumes and cosmetics:
- Avoid wearing any cologne, perfume, or deodorant.
- Use fragrance-free or natural soap, lotions, shampoo, conditioners, lip balm, sunscreen, shaving cream and hairspray.
- Use as many natural, fragrance-free products and essential oils as possible.
- Make-up generally contains fragrance.
Alternatives to laundry detergents
- Your clothes attract a lot of smoke, fragrance and various chemicals. It could take up to 20 washes to get rid of this and, even after washing, there is always some residue of scented detergent on the clothes.
- Use fragrance-free laundry detergents for your baby and yourself.
- The best thing to do is soak your clothes overnight in baking soda and water, then wash and wear them.
- Remember to dry the clothes in fresh air as much as possible. Drying clothes inside the house could increase the moisture in the air (up to 30%) and cause mould spores to breed.
A study that analysed 25 top-selling products found that the claims of fragranced products to be ‘green’, ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ are nothing more than fancy labels, and these products emit as many chemicals as regular fragranced products. Also, many products claiming to be ‘unscented’ are actually scented products using another masking fragrance.
What you wear has a direct relationship with your baby’s breathing. With ‘First Breath’ you can immediately check the effects of these personal products on the air surrounding your baby.
So you can either opt for your family’s health or the latest perfume on the market. The choice is yours.