You Asked: Is Perfume Bad for Me?

It seems to be the assumption of many that objections to the use of fragrance are based solely on personal preference or unfounded fear. But the truth is that there is evidence that fragrance may be hurting everyone, not just the super-sensitive, as brought out in this blog post from Time.

TIME

For some it’s intoxicating. It may also be toxic.

From sneezing and wheezing to rash and headache, many people suffer an allergic reaction to perfume—even when it’s on someone else. “Anything that gives perfume an odor is very likely going to be an allergen,” says Dr. Heather Patisaul, a biologist at North Carolina State University who studies the way environmental exposures mess with human development. That means your cologne- or perfume-soaked colleague could be the cause of your runny nose.

“Look at your perfume bottle and read the ingredients,” she suggests. “It reads like a chemistry book.” You can get lost among all the benzyls and ethyls. But it’s the ingredient listed simply as “fragrance” or “parfum” that worries public health researchers like Patisaul. “Those terms are a catchall for 10,000 different ingredients,” she says.

Thanks to trade-secret laws protecting perfume and cosmetic makers from divulging the specific formulas for…

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