Our sense of smell is the one most connected to memory. Whether it’s the delicious bakery aroma as we walk around town or the fresh smell of pine trees after a rainy day, scent is a constant in our lives. Smells can be wonderful--or not so wonderful--but whatever the scent, we often experience an emotional reaction to what meets our noses. Scents hold more power than most of us realize. Have you ever caught a whiff of a certain perfume that transports you back to that springtime when you were sixteen? Or felt an overwhelming sense of relaxation when you smelled a lavender bush in bloom? That’s because scent actually has a profound effect on the way we feel. Scents can trigger moods because of associative learning (the perfume example) or through aromatherapy from the natural properties of certain plants. However, not all scents and fragrances are beneficial to the health of body and mind. The artificial fragrance industry projects to reach 92 billion dollars in 2024, but the truth is most of these fragrance chemicals are toxic and hazardous to our well being.
In fact, many studies have shown artificial scents from candles, room sprays, or even perfumes can be harmful to our health. The reality behind our stack of fall-themed candles is most likely they are not as pretty as the packaging. That’s because “about 95 percent of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum (crude oil)”(Dr Axe). This means that the chemicals found in many common household cleaning products, toiletries, or other artificially scented products have the potential to be carcinogenic by our simply breathing them in through the air. Further, many of those compounds also act as endocrine disruptors that can lead to hormone imbalance, weight gain, as well as many diseases (Dr. Axe). These harmful smells often come with the label “fragrance,” a term that traditionally carries a positive connotation. It appears your nose is not the only part of you being deceived.
Katie Wells from the Wellness Mama agrees when she states the reasons she no longer uses scented candles, “Though they seem safe, regular scented candles are a huge source of indoor air pollution and they put off chemicals that are considered just as dangerous as second-hand smoke.” She continues listing the toxins created from burning the traditional wax, the wick and artificial scents and dyes.
This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to take a look at the artificial fragrances in your home and replace at least one of them with a non-toxic option. Traditional aromatics around your home (such as scented candles, air fresheners, and scented sprays) may be highly toxic, so let’s learn about healthier alternatives and embrace safer fragrances.
Buy Beeswax candles since they have air purifying properties.
Use essential oils: they can be placed in a diffuser, in bathwater or spray bottle mixed with water to create a wonderful fragrance. We suggest using a blue glass spray bottle when storing essential oil spray.
In your kitchen add favorite herbs and spices to a boiling pot of water and let it simmer to your heart’s content. Some suggestions include allspice, cinnamon, cloves, eucalyptus, lavender, citrus fruit, mint leaves, and nutmeg.
Create potpourri by drying items such as flowers, wood chips and spices, and then place them in bowls around your home.
Blue glass is the ideal container to store essential oils (a great alternative to toxic scents) because it offers UV protection for sensitive oils to stay fresh and balanced. These bottles are great for DIY scented sprays to bring into your home as an alternative to toxic store-bought scents.