Thanks for not us­ing air fresh­en­ers

Tweed Daily News - - LIFE MILESTONES - OLWEN AN­DER­SON Olwen An­der­son is a natur­opath and coun­sel­lor. www.ol­we­nan­der­

MAYBE your breath­ing feels a lit­tle odd as you stride through the clean­ing prod­uct aisle of the su­per­mar­ket, drive in a freshly de­tailed car, or visit a friend who ha­bit­u­ally uses air fresh­en­ers.

These are the places with high con­cen­tra­tions of ar­ti­fi­cial (syn­thetic) fra­grances, and re­search around its ill-ef­fects is grow­ing. There’s a wide range of ar­ti­fi­cial chem­i­cals in the prod­ucts we use to make our­selves and our en­vi­ron­ments smell nice, but they could be hav­ing more of an im­pact on your hor­mones than you thought.

Many of those chem­i­cals like volatile or­ganic com­pounds are now clas­si­fied as en­docrine dis­rupters; be­cause re­search has found they could be con­tribut­ing to hor­monal prob­lems like poly-cys­tic ovary syn­drome, thy­roid prob­lems and acne.

The prob­lem with some of the chem­i­cals con­tained in ar­ti­fi­cial fra­grances is that their mol­e­cules look so much like hor­mone mol­e­cules your body can’t tell the dif­fer­ence. So they can latch on to cell re­cep­tors, block­ing your real hor­mones. This is sus­pected to con­trib­ute to hor­mone dis­or­ders in women. Since hor­mones af­fect mood, your emo­tions could be af­fected too. It’s also pos­si­ble that the chem­i­cals in these prod­ucts could af­fect the ner­vous sys­tem, and re­search con­tin­ues to find out for sure. Like the re­cent lit­i­ga­tion around the use of glyphos­phate as a her­bi­cide, we might soon de­cide that sub­stances we thought were safe to use weren’t so good for us af­ter all.

Our bod­ies have in-built detox­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tems to man­age small doses of chem­i­cals, but can only han­dle so much for us. In­door air pol­lu­tion is def­i­nitely a thing, with some folk re­act­ing to over-ex­po­sure to syn­thetic fra­grances with breath­ing prob­lems, sneez­ing, some­times burn­ing eyes or even a headache.

If you’re wor­ried you or your home will smell bad, con­sider us­ing es­sen­tial oils and nat­u­ral (cer­ti­fied or­ganic) prod­ucts. There’s a mul­ti­tude of nat­u­ral groom­ing prod­ucts on the mar­ket.

But a word to the wise: even nat­u­ral es­sen­tial oils can be so con­cen­trated that they can cause hor­mone prob­lems them­selves.

Many peo­ple are switch­ing to nat­u­ral clean­ing prod­ucts like bi­carb and vine­gar, adding a few drops of (nat­u­ral) es­sen­tial oil. Let­ting in fresh air helps too. .

❝ Our bod­ies have in-built detox­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tems to man­age small doses of chem­i­cals, but can only han­dle so much

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