You know that “new car” smell you love? Or how about the smell your clothes have after you use dryer sheets? Or that plug-in air freshener? Or even your favorite candle? Well, guess what? All of those smells are chemicals!! I know, gross. We have been brainwashed by the genius marketing campaigns of all of these products to associate these smells with words like “clean” and “fresh”. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is that these are unnatural, chemical smells that are toxic to our bodies. Many people are getting contact dermatitis and eczema from the fragrances in their personal and home products, but aren’t sure what is causing it. Even scientists are having a hard time pin pointing what the culprit is because, by law, companies are not required to disclose fragrance ingredients in their products. So unless your products specifically say organic, fragrance free or no artificial fragrances, you can assume they contain chemical fragrances. The ones that really get to me are Febreze and spray air fresheners. They are basically telling you that you can make your bathroom or furniture smell clean and fresh by spraying chemicals that smell like flowers all over it! What??!! I don’t know about you, but I’d rather smell a bathroom that smells like shit (pardon my french), then a bathroom that smells like shit covered with chemical flowers.
So, what about that new car smell? Most people like the smell of their new car’s interior and associate it with the car being clean and new. The truth is that you are, again, smelling chemicals! Most car interiors are different kinds of plastics held together with a number of adhesives and sealers. These materials off-gas over 60 substances like phthalates, chlorine, ammonia, lead, flame retardants, not to mention known carcinogens. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to avoid this, unless you don’t drive a car, but you can limit your exposure. First of all, know that the materials do stop off gassing after time, so an older car will have less toxins inside than a new car. Scientists who have studied the chemicals released recommend keeping new cars well ventilated while driving, especially during the summer (as the heat will make more chemicals release). My husband and I have started a new habit of rolling all of the windows down for the first minute or so we are in the car, especially if it is warm outside. This airs out the off-gassing that has happened and fills the car with fresh air from outside. It is an easy thing to do and you will be reducing your exposure to possibly harmful chemicals by adding this to your routine.
In conclusion, I challenge you to start rethinking what you consider to be a fresh, clean or good smell. Remember that, unless otherwise stated, these smells are chemicals. You don’t need these smells for your home to be clean or fresh. Truly clean and fresh has no smell, like fresh air from outside. The more you cut out these smells, the more you will realize how unnecessary they are and the better off your health, and the health of your family and pets, will be.