Organic Perfumes Minneapolis MN
Coon Rapids, MN
Natural Beauty - Good Scents
By Allison Hoover Bartlett
Running late, my husband and I rush into the movie theater and quickly scan the place for seats. We excuse ourselves past half a row of agitated popcorn-chompers and settle into the last good ones, feeling lucky. But two seconds later—the length of an average inhalation, in fact—I fear we can’t stay. The woman next to me reeks.
It’s her perfume, a scent that must be equal parts insecticide, nail polish remover, and room freshener. For a few minutes, I try to ignore it. But finally I can’t take it anymore, so we get up, edge our way back out of the row, and find seats in the outer reaches of the theater. Not ideal, but at least we can breathe.
Such olfactory nightmares can almost make you yearn for the days when a fellow moviegoer might be doused instead in patchouli oil—well, almost. The good news is that nowadays fragrance choices are not limited to synthetically produced megabrands and heavy oils better suited to holiday candles. Wonderfully subtle, natural perfumes are growing in popularity, and the evidence can be seen not just in health food stores, but also in specialty boutiques and on countless websites.
That’s partly due to the surge of interest in purer products in general. “It’s a logical follow-up to the organic food movement,” says Mandy Aftel, a natural perfumer and the author of Essence and Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume. “People have discovered how much better organic, vine-ripened tomatoes taste, and now they’re looking for those natural qualities in their perfumes.” But it’s also a response to the harsh chemicals in synthetic fragrances.
While my movie theater experience was annoying, it could have been out-and-out dangerous for someone with multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). For the estimated 15 percent of people in this country who report chemical sensitivity, encounters with irritating substances can trigger such symptoms as headaches, joint pain, shortness of breath, rashes, and dizziness.
As for the rest of us, it’s hard to say for sure whether such products pose a real hazard to our health. Physician Marsha Vetter of the Randolph Clinic Environmental Health Center- Chicago, is chemically sensitive herself, and has noticed that essential oils are less likely to trigger adverse reactions among her patients than synthetic fragrances. “But no formal studies have been done to support this,” she says.
Researchers face significant obstacles to finding out, since fragrance ingredients are considered trade secrets, and perfume companies aren’t required to tell the FDA what their products include. Perfumers have been coming up with cheaper alternatives to natural ingredients since the late 19th century; the result is an industry that’s heavily dependent on synthetic chemicals.
Yet we do know that many chemicals commonly found in perfumes, such as benzaldehyde and phthalates, are known toxins. The European Union, in fact, has banned phthalates from perfumes sold there. Common sen...
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