Botanical scents – the way to avoid the issues with synthetic perfumes

Fragrances have played an important emotional role for a very long time. People have indulged in the enjoyable practice of perfuming themselves with aromatic flower blends for thousands of years. Before the 1900s scents were basic and uncomplicated, like rose and jasmine water extracted from out of the back garden. Science transformed all that in the 20th century, replacing pure, unadulterated plant derived ingredients under an avalanche of chemical fakes.

The fragranceboom began when Jacques Guerlain created Shalimar in 1925, and Francois Coty released his fragrances, Grasse, Chypre de Coty, and La Rose Jacqueminot. Scientific advances during WWII allowed the formation of even more complex chemical perfume classics like Opium, Chanel No. 5, and 4711.  When Charles Revson developed Charlie for Revlon, ladies began buying perfume for themselves. Cosmetic stores all over the place were filled with a glut of manufactured perfumes designed by corporations and their copy cats.

From there the business has grown. In fact, in the weeks prior to Christmas this year, it is predicted that a bottle of Chanel No.5 perfume will sell every 30 seconds around the world!

The excellent news is that customers are growing more discerning. And with increasing alarms about the consequence of synthetic perfumes on the health of both individuals and the planet, there is now a switch towards boutique or niche scents, perfume produced in modest amounts by traditionally educated artisans, such as miessence perfumes. Sometimes noted as ‘natural’, a lot of of these fragrances still contain possibly dangerous artificial components, unlike organic fragrances

Banning manufactured smells from the workplace is starting to be the social issue of the time. Ever more people are suffering from multiple chemical sensitivities, (MCS Syndrome), with recorded allergic reactions such as headaches, dizziness, irritability, hypertension, and depression. Giving these people with a perfume-free environment has become such a crucial issue that it won’t go away.  The dilemma has been taken up worldwide and carries on to develop in strength.

Australian environmental consultant Dr. Mark Donohoe has been quoted as saying that he believes the chemical perfume concern may become even larger than the anti-smoking activities of history.  Even now, anti-fragrance reform is taking effect in the most unlikely places. England’s Lady Mar is a high profile campaigner on chemical poisoning problems in the Uk. In 2004, she almost single-handedly succeeded in banning the extreme use of synthetic fragrances and perfumes in the resolutely traditionalist British House of Lords.

The European Committee has begun analysis to appraise the applications of all chemicals on the European market. Germany now has legislation to deal with artificial fragrance issues. And in the US, employees are claiming protection from the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Yet, for now, it seems that control is most likely to be influenced by employers responding to workers’ problems. Penning in the Melbourne Age (2004), Elisabeth King said, ‘…after banning the wearing of freshly dry-cleaned clothes, perfumes, and over-fragranced cleaning products on a trial basis, they (employers) often discover that all of their employees, not just MCS sufferers, feel much better.’

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