News Stories

Dangerous Smells

But it's more dangerous NOT to smell! - Our lives are filled with manufactured smells: a study of 6 top-selling laundry products and air fresheners shows that these products emitted dozens of different chemicals, and all of them gave off at least one chemical regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, but NONE of those chemicals was listed on the product labels.

Researcher Anne Steinemann says, "I first got interested in this topic because people were telling me that the air fresheners in public restrooms and the scent from laundry products vented outdoors were making them sick, and I wanted to know, 'What's in these products that is causing these effects?'"

When she analyzed the products to discover the chemicals' identity, "I was surprised by both the number and the potential toxicity of the chemicals that were found." Chemicals included acetone, the active ingredient in paint thinner and nail-polish remover; limonene, a molecule with a citrus scent; and acetaldehyde, chloromethane and 1,4-dioxane.

"Nearly 100 volatile organic compounds were emitted from these six products, and none were listed on any product label. Plus, five of the six products emitted one or more carcinogenic 'hazardous air pollutants,' which are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to have no safe exposure level," Steinemann says.

All these false scents may not only be dangerous to our health, they could even lead to the end of our species, because it turns out that our sense of smell may actually be vital for the continuation of the human race. When women take contraceptive pills, it alters their sense of smell, causing them to choose the WRONG sexual partners. In the August 13th edition of the Independent, Jeremy Laurance writes: "Opposites attract?in gender and in genes. But [this] study revealed that instead of going for genetically dissimilar mates, as human beings are instinctively inclined to do, women on the Pill tended to select men more genetically similar to themselves. This is evolutionary suicide because the survival of the species depends on genetic diversity. Going for genetically similar men, detected from body odor, may increase a woman's risk of difficulties trying to conceive, miscarriage and of long intervals between pregnancies."

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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