For Your Health
, , , The problem:
There are companies who have found a way to incorporate synthetic fragrance and artificial flavorings into the plastic used to package items intended for sale; their purpose is for the product to give off an identifying scent even before you open the box, bag or bottle. The theory is that if you can smell the product, it will entice you to buy.
This sounds good from a marketing view point; it is not a good idea from the viewpoint of those who suffer adverse health effects from breathing in the chemicals that compose fragrance oil and perfume.
Imagine the chemical stew of fragrance and scents that will fill the air in stores and homes from dozens or even hundreds of scented packages on the shelves. Not only will this pollute the air in the store, it will also find it’s way into your home even if you don’t buy the products. The chemicals and scent will permeate a good share of the unscented products in the area, effectively preventing anyone who wants to avoid scented packaging from having the freedom to do so.
This spreading effect is demonstrated currently when scented items, such as candles and potpourri, are not sealed well enough to prevent the fragrance oils from seeping out. Avoiding stores or departments that carry scented candles, potpourri and the like is enough of a challenge; it will be much more difficult to avoid these new packages as many of the items proposed are food items sold in grocery stores.
This is an air quality issue, a general health concern and impinges on the personal freedom of people who do not wish to breathe fragrance oil chemicals.
You can read more about the scented plastic and packaging at the links below:
More about Fragrance Oils & Perfumes:
This concept of opposing this new technology is hard to understand for those who love perfume and surrounds themselves daily with their favorite scents. Perhaps the best way to explain the potential severity of the problem, is to compare it to the effect of cigar, pipe or cigarette smoke on someone with a lung disease. The smoker often finds the smell of the smoke pleasant, while it can threaten the life of someone with asthma or reactive airway disease.
So it is with the chemicals used to make synthetic fragrance oils and people whose health is threatened by them.
These chemicals are used in perfumes, cologne, bath and body products, hair products, candles, air fresheners, cleaning products and just about anything else you can think of with a scent that is not natural to the item. They not only cause problems for the chemically sensitive individual, but are a major cause of skin irritation and allergies and headaches. Perfumes and fragrance oils are also a common trigger for asthma attacks and aggravate many other breathing problems.
Read through the following references to learn more about the potential health risks of fragrance oils:
Air Freshener chemicals shown to decrease lung function and exacerbate lung diseases; an example of how this issue affects everyone:
Air Fresheners May Reduce Lung Functions
In-depth evaluation of synthetic fragrances:
Health Conditions Effected by Fragrances
Debunking some commonly held misconceptions about synthetic fragrance and perfume:
Fragrance Facts & Fiction
Fumes from Butter Flavoring for microwave popcorn; an example of a chemical in food flavoring causing disease:
Study abstracts on various health effects of perfumes & fragrance chemicals:
Health Effects of Perfume
Perfume and Neurological Effects
What we can do:
- Pray that the concept will be unpopular – if the items don’t sell, they will stop making them.
- Learn about the problem so that we are not caught unaware.
- Spread the word within our circle of influence.
- Contact the companies who make these products with an explanation of why we don’t want scented packaging.
- Contact area stores and explain why we don’t want scented packaging for the items we buy or even on the shelf next to the things we buy. Lead with an explanation of the problem; some store owners or managers may not even know about the new packaging, but will soon be able to order the items.
When I contacted the stores in my area, they were not yet aware that this was coming – but North Dakota is an unlikely test market due to our low population level.
- Contact organizations (both governmental and private) concerned with air quality about this problem.
- Contact media sources; explain the problem and the concerns.
- Remain polite and keep the request or explanation brief.
Current list of companies using or considering this technology:
AriZona Beverage Co.
5 Dakota Dr. Suite 205
Lake Success, NY 11042
Proctor & Gamble
1 Procter and Gamble Plz
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Information received from Proctor & Gamble: They have registered my comments. I have no other information on scented packaging planned for PG products.
1401 Park Avenue South
Linden , NJ 07036
Information received from Rotuba: This company actually manufactures the scented plastics for other manufacturers to use in their products. They have no control over which items will be made with the scent encapsulation technology, but their customers make items such as cell phones, tools, dolls, hair accessories, etc. Not food packaging at this time. Scented items using this technology will be available for sale in the 1st quarter of 2007.
You can see and contact their customers at this link:
Of particular note to me was “Goody Products” a division of the Newell Rubbermaid Corporation.
425 Old York Rd
Jenkintown, PA 19046-2736
Sud-Chemie Performance Packaging
101 Christine Dr.
Belen, NM 87002
Information received from Sud-Chemie: They are still in the testing phase in their plans to make scented canisters for the desiccants found in vitamin supplements and medications. They are specifically looking at supplements that have an offensive odor like fish oil. Sud-Chemie does not make the supplements or medications; they sell the desiccant canisters to other manufacturers.
They explain their product as containing synthetic flavoring chemicals with aromatic compounds rather than as a fragrance.
This use of the technology would not affect the outside of the bottle. There are no plans at the moment to label the products as containing a scented desiccant, making avoidance difficult. I stressed the importance of recommending to their customers, that they have an identifying label on products containing a flavored / scented desiccant.
I will be contacting the makers of my supplements to let them know that I don’t want scented desiccant canisters in products I purchase, and request that they label their supplements plainly if there is a scented desiccant canister included in the bottle.
For those who take medications, you can write to the drug companies with your concerns too.
Letters make the most impact, however calls and e-mails are also helpful. The goal is to convince the manufacturing companies that scented product packaging it is not a wise move for their company financially because there are so many segments of the population that don’t want to buy them or even to have them in the stores.