Smelling good could cost you your health
A summary for food, chemical and electro sensitivities
About 4,000 chemicals are currently used to scent products, but you won’t find any of them listed on a label. Fragrance formulations are considered a “trade secret” and therefore protected from disclosure – even to regulators or manufacturers. Instead, one word, fragrance, appears on ingredients lists for countless cosmetics, personal care and cleaning products. A single scent may contain anywhere from 50 to 300 distinct chemicals.
“No state, federal or global authority is regulating the safety of fragrance chemicals,” says Janet Nudelman, policy director for Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP) and co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “No state, federal or global authority even knows which fragrance chemicals appear in which products.”
Three-quarters of the toxic chemicals detected in a test of 140 products came from fragrance, reported a 2018 BCPP study of personal care and cleaning brands. The chemicals identified were linked to chronic health issues, including cancer.
Besides common reactions to fragrance – about 35% of people report migraines or respiratory problems because of fragrance – health advocates have more serious concerns. Could fragrance chemicals, combined with the other chemical cocktails found in daily life, be shaping serious disease trends?
“There are chemicals in fragrances that do cause [cancer and reproductive effects], we know this from animal studies,” says Alexandra Scranton, director of Science and Research for Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), a women’s health not-for-profit. “Do people who use a lot of fragrance get more cancer than those who don’t? No one really knows because no one has looked at that.”
More than 1,200 fragrance chemicals currently in use have been flagged as potential or known “chemicals of concern”, according to a 2018 report from WVE. These include seven carcinogens, 15 chemicals prohibited from use in cosmetics in the EU and others cited in various international warning lists. Endocrine disrupters, which mimic human hormones, are of particular concern to many researchers and advocates, as they can have effects in the tiniest doses.
There are also exposure differences across racial lines. Black women and children have been found to have higher levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which could be tied to exposure from toxic chemicals in hair products. Higher chemical exposures, especially at a young age, could be linked to certain health disparities between black and white women, some researchers theorize.
An increasing number of people are becoming sensitive to electromagnetic fields (EMFs), Wi-Fi and mobile phone frequencies. Symptoms can manifest as headaches, blurred vision, tingling, numbness, nosebleeds, palpitations, joint/muscle pains, insomnia and others. Once sensitised it is quite difficult to recover so it's a good idea to limit your daily exposure.
Tips include :
Unplug appliances when not in use.
Sit at least 1m away from TV screens.
Take a 5 minute break every hour when using a computer.
Make sure you're not sitting or sleeping in an area affected by strong electrical fields or phone mast radiation (you can hire measuring equipment to test).
'Free From' Recipe: Tomato and Basil Tart
The filling of this tart is not cooked so it is simple to assemble and showcases ripe tomatoes. Tomatoes have potassium, vitamins B and E, and other nutrients.The filling has no egg so egg free pastry makes the whole recipe egg free.
Thanks to Foods Matter.com for kindly letting us reproduce this dish.
Improved NICE guidelines (which make a significant step towards challenging prejudice and moving on from detrimental therapies ) were 'paused' after pressure.
However certain medical Royal Colleges have informed NICE they will refuse to implement these improved guidelines. They demand that graded exercise therapy is included as a recommended treatment. Evidence demonstrates this harms most people with ME, and all evidence supporting use of this therapy was deemed to be of low or very low quality by the independent NICE guideline committee. Organisations have been urging NICE to publish the finalised ME/CFS guideline immediately, and call on the Royal Colleges to work collaboratively with patient organisations to implement it. The delay to the NICE guideline has helped shine a spotlight on the stigma and ignorance that many of our members with M.E live with. Articles such as ours on Long Covid in the next magazine, help to raise awareness of this.
As this newsletter goes out, ME Action Network UK have 16,000 plus signatures on the first batch to go to NICE but state that the petition will go on for as long as it takes to #PublishThatGuideline.
Ensure latex free PCR COVID test kits are available.Currently all COVID test kits nationally contain latex, meaning those with latex allergies can not access testing. Given the current pandemic and being subject to test and trace, this is problematic for a potentially significant amount of allergy sufferers and others.Sign this petition.
New Discount for Members - Pesticide Free Garden Signs
20% off Pesticide Free Gardens from Pesticide Free Balerno team.
Outdoor garden signs in conjunction with the Grass market project in Edinburgh to celebrate and support the pesticide free movement. Signs are made from reclaimed oak, ethically sourced and sales support vulnerable but very talented adults in the community. On their website, they also have a resources section with letter templates, ready to be downloaded and used by other communities. Contact us for the discount code.
New Autumn/Winter 2021 MCS Aware Magazine on its way. Worldwide by email or post on chlorine-free paper. This September:
Would you like to make your life easier? This newsletter is a small part of what we provide. If you would like additional information and support you may want to join us, you'll receive magazines packed with articles, news, tips and recipes to help you live with chemical, food and electro-sensitivities. We have joined together with companies so you can have discounts on all the things you need (including 25% off supplements), and set up a PenPal Community so you can get in touch with other members by phone, letter, email or Zoom. We'll give you loads of help sheets to help you plan your route to recovery, and leaflets, badges, wallet cards and posters to help explain the illness to friends and family. We'll also give you a list of practitioners who specialise in treating environmental illness. Why do we want you to join MCS-Aware? Because we believe it will make your life easier!
Membership is worldwide, and you can choose to receive information by email or by post. We also offer Gift Subscriptions. Find out more here.