Perfume and fragrances can be found in any kind of beauty products and cosmetics. And the habit to use fragrances has rooted in human tradition since ancient times. The prove is how human traditional rituals that use incenses and flowers to get its typical sensation can be found all around the world.
Yes, it is good that because of the presence of perfume and fragrance we smell this world better. However, on the other side, the substances they contain and how they are produced might bring harm to our earth.
Every single perfume and other kinds of fragrances consist of at least 3000 chemicals. Let alone other additional chemicals used to produce varieties of derivative products such as cosmetics, incenses, and food. Nobody can assure that every single chemical used to make the products are safe for the environment.
Here we will tell you how perfumes and fragrances may affect our environment, and how choosing eco-friendly perfume will contribute in helping the nature recover from its wounds.
Chemicals In Perfumes Pollute Our Environment
When you are biking to work, you might have helped in saving the earth from further harm. However, when you arrive at the office and try to disguise the smell of your sweaty body by applying musk-scented perfumes or colognes, you might hamper the benefits.
Most of musk scent is produced in a laboratory, and thus is not bio-degradable in the nature. Instead of being degraded, it will pollute our water when the residue of this chemical is washed away or tossed into the water bodies.
The chemical compounds in musk fragrances will attach itself into fatty tissue of any aquatic organism in the water body and then go back to us. This comeback is not by making us smell as good as before, but by entering our digestion system. Thus, we can say that sometimes, we drink ‘musk water’.
Not only that, the chemical compound in the perfume may also pollute our atmosphere when we are applying it by spraying. A study conducted in 1990 found that 265 tons of volatile organic compounds were released into the atmosphere in California alone due to the use of fragrance products.
These compounds will break down into other compounds that may bring harm to the environment and our health. So, while basically the fragrances and perfumes are not dangerous to our environment, the derived compounds it produces might be the ones that bring harm.
Fragrant Climate Change
Moreover, about the chemical compounds found in the fragrances and perfumes, not only poisoning the environment and our health, some compounds might also contribute to global warming and climate change. This is based on a finding of a study conducted by NOAA researchers.
The NOAA researchers found out that the greatest contributor to air pollution in urban area is actually a close race between fossil fuel emission from vehicles and chemical products created from petroleum. While for your information, perfumes belong to those chemical products created from petroleum base.
Although it may seem like vehicle emission far exceed the use of petroleum-based products, surprisingly the research found that those products contribute as much emission as vehicles. It is strange since people use as much as 15 times more fuel in weight than those products.
It means that those products are 15 times more potent than fossil fuel consumed by the vehicles. The reason behind it is how those products are used. Gasoline is stored in the tank and burned before converted into emission, while those products are made to evaporate.
By evaporating, we allow the harming chemical compounds to enter the air directly without any filtering. Not only harmful to the environment, but those chemical compounds from the petroleum-based products are also harmful to our body.
Worse For Animals
Those mentioned above are not the only consequences we can get from ignorantly using harmful chemicals in perfumes and fragrances. The effect is worse in several animals, especially in producing the musk fragrance.
The fragrance indeed is produced in laboratory, but the source is gotten from the nature. One example is from civet, an animal native to Asia and Africa which produces musk from its perineal gland. And how we get the musk is inhumane.
There are only a few choices to get it, whether by killing the animals, removing the gland from the animal alive, or by scraping the secretion from the gland. None of those choices are giving benefits to the civets, and other musk-producing animals.
That’s why many activists are protesting the production of musk from animals, and since then most perfume industries are using synthetic equivalent. However, the synthetic equivalents are not less dangerous to environment, since it is made of chemicals.
You might have never realized how dangerous your perfume is to the environment. But now you know, and it might change your mind about using fragrances. However, you don’t need to stop making yourself smell better.
There are many alternatives you can choose that will bring the benefit to you while on the other hand do not harm the environment. Most of those friendly perfume industries use oils that they get from plants extraction.
Some plants such as rose, jasmine, and vanilla can produce as much fragrant oil if being extracted. And most of those plants are grown in cultivation, meaning that no harm will be brought to the wild. It means that not only benefitting the nature, the production will also benefit the farmers.
However, the choice of plants to be extracted is particularly still so few, making production of various fragrance is hard. However, by using modern technology, the extraction of various plants is possible by the support of greater companies.
“Large companies are taking part, and this sends a message to consumers that it is worth supporting,” said Guy Vincent, an Aveda perfumer. This way, we may end the invisible threat that fragrances and perfumes might bring to our environment.
So, since now, you can contribute to the nature by simply learning the ingredients in your perfume and try to choose eco-friendlier perfume.