I was a National Marketing Manager for a major Perfume distributor and retailer. I loved my job and being surrounded by luxury products. However, during my first pregnancy I realized my body didn’t respond well to perfume. Many of my favourite perfumes increasingly made me sneeze, I had headaches when I wore them and sometimes it exacerbated my pregnancy nausea.
This reaction to toxins forced me to do some research, and I found that many manufactured perfumes and air fresheners contain volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and other chemical ingredients that are very harmful to the body as they increase our toxic load.
What are VOC’s ?
Many of today’s fragrances are 97% synthetic, and contain up to 7000 VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). VOC’s are chemicals used in the fragrance and beauty industry in combinations that make our neuro-sensors think we are smelling a particular scent. VOC’s create smells including the strawberry scent of children’s smelly marking pens, the lemon or pine smell of some cleaning agents and are also added to expensive luxury perfumes.
Perfumed soaps contain between 30 and 150 fragrance ingredients, and scented cosmetics have between 200 and 500. Also 700 artificial fragrance ingredients can be found in a single home cleaning product ! Scary huh ?
In addition there are also masking scents these are designed to cover up unpleasant or unwanted odours inherent in a product, but some work by actually dis-enabling us to smell the offending odour.
The Chemical Cocktail
When used indoors, fragrance, aerosols, cleaning products and air fresheners can cause VOC’s to build up in your home. These high levels of VOC’s can cause headaches, sneezing, diarrhoea, and vomiting – a a natural toxic overload reaction, which is what I had.
The problem with many fragranced products is that they don’t just contain VOC’s but a combined cocktail of chemical ingredients. These include formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, VOC’s, BPA’s and bleach. The individual ingredients can vary tremendously in their ability to soak through the skin and can easily penetrate blood vessels and body tissue if inhaled.
Some of the individual chemical ingredients used in isolation carry low risks, however it is the combination of ingredients and our continual exposure that causes concern. An average adult uses at least 5 personal care products each day, 1 – 2 chemical cleaning products and is often surrounded by other synthetic smells or “air fresheners”. The health hazard mounts up, as the chemicals can react in combination and begin to accumulate within the body.
Recent research has found :
- Many common household toxins are neurotoxins or endocrine disruptors – this includes cleaning and beauty products.
- Neurotoxins are poisonous or destructive to nerve tissue.
- Toxins in the brain interfere with our memory and brain function. Excessive exposure also means our brain is unable to naturally produce happy chemicals causing depression and moodiness.
- Continual exposure to chemicals also interferes with our endocrine (or hormone) systems. These endocrine disruptions can contribute to hormone and fertility issues. When our hormones are disrupted metabolic and fat loss issues also occur.
- Endocrine distruptors can also contribute to a condition in many women called estrogen dominance this has also been linked to allergies, autoimmune disorders, breast cancer, uterine cancer, infertility, ovarian cysts, and increased blood clotting, and is also associated with acceleration of the aging process.
- Research shows that endocrine disruptors may pose the greatest risk during pregnancy when organ and neural systems in unborn babies are forming in the womb.
Reduce your Toxic Load
It all sounds pretty scary ! We are never going to completely remove ourselves from exposure to chemicals. However, when we start to remove toxins from our home and our body, we reduce our toxic load and start repairing and reducing our risk from many major diseases.
Using products that are made with ingredients that are grown free of synthetic ingredients and genetically modified organisms will be kind to you, your children and to the planet. Best of all you can make your own and save money.
Here are 4 of my favourites toxic free items :
Frankincense is an essential oil used as a base in several expensive perfumes. Whenever I dab a few drops of this divine oil behind my ears and wrists many I am always asked what am I wearing.
It has a soft woody aroma and is known to be anti-inflammatory as well as antibacterial. It’s has also been found to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, scars and stretch marks. Frankincense essential oil also blends well with many other oils, such as orange, lavender and lemon. I love blending it with lemon for a fresh summery scent. All of these essential oils are safe to use during pregnancy and are a wonderful toxic free alternative.
I also love that doTERRA sell Frankincense Oil already diluted with a safe carrier oil, provided in a ready made little roller ball bottle as pictured. Grab yours here.
- ½ cup water
- 15 drops dōTERRA frankincense essential oil
- 8 drops of dōTERRA wild orange essential oil
Mix ingredients together in a spray bottle. Shake well before each use and spray into the air for an instant burst of freshness. Test on a discreet part of fabric before spraying a large surface to be safe.
I have recently started using Soap Berries. These are actually berries from the Soap Berry Tree (Sapindus mukorossi). The berries grow on trees, ripen and drop to the ground where they are collected and then dried naturally in the sun. They contain saponin, Mother Nature’s soap ! This natural, foamy soap is released from the soap berry when agitated in water.
Soap Berries are 100% natural cleaning product. They contain no chemicals or toxins and best of all they are sustainable and not harmful to our mother earth. While they don’t pretend to get whites whiter or colours brighter they will definitely leave your clothes clean, fresh and lasting longer. I add use 5-6 soap berries in the little muslin bag provided together with 3 drops of Eucalyptus Essential oil and 5 drops of Wild Orange Essential Oil and my laundry is toxic free and smells delicious ! I found mine at the wonderful toxic free beauty website Nourished Life.
It is so easy to make your own Surface or Glass Cleaner ! As mentioned above, the toxic cocktail in cleaning supplies can be hazardous to your health and the environment. So take the risk out of household cleaners by making your own cleaners at home. They’re affordable, easy, eco-friendly, and more effective than toxic laden store-bought cleaners.
What You Need:
500ml Glass Spray Bottle
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup distilled water
8 drops of any citrus oil of your choice (you could use Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Wild Orange, or a combination – all are pregnancy safe oils)
Add vinegar, water, and essential oil(s) to spray bottle and shake.
Trust me this cleaner somehow makes cleaning much more enjoyable & bearable !
Where can I purchase toxic free essential oils ?
I hope you enjoy my 4 favourite recipes to ditch the toxins and feel fabulously delicious. If you’d like to get started with these amazing, 100% pure oils that are ethically and sustainably sourced from dōTERRA simply click here.
p.s If you would like to improve your NUTRITION during pregnancy and postpartum. Grab my free NUTRITION GUIDE HERE.
Dahlas Fletcher is one of Australia’s most respected and successful certified and experienced Pregnancy and Female Fitness Trainers. Her goal is to help you be the happiest, most fabulous version of yourself, inside and out.