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Connie Pitts
Get A Whiff Of This: Perfumes (Fragrances) - The Invisible Chemical Poisons

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am a wife, mother, and grandmother of two young girls. I'm also a human being whose life has been tragically altered by hazardous perfume chemicals. Nearly eleven years ago, my own perfume began bothering me. As the years progressed, I became sensitive to most all perfumes, including purported low levels of fragrance chemicals that are in hair care products, deodorants, body lotions, laundry products, scented candles, and air fresheners.

After I stopped using perfume, I continued to become increasingly ill from second-hand exposures. Fragrance chemicals are ubiquitous; therefore, I've been primarily housebound for over four years. I pondered over how to spread the word about the deleterious health effects perfumes can have on human beings and our environment. There are many websites pertaining to the issue, but not everyone owns a computer, nor do most people who get online necessarily research the health effects of fragrance chemicals. A book geared towards the unsuspecting consumer, along with a catchy title and striking book cover illustration, seemed like a plan.

During the course of my writing (it took be one and a half years to complete), I came close to giving up, twice. I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. Never having written anything other than published newspaper editorials, I gave it my best attempt. My first manuscript was completely unorganized. After three attempts, and a lot of help from experts in the medical field, I persevered. Writing became pleasurable, and the details I've learned, including computer savvy, citing, and referencing, have made the experience a challenge that I enjoyed. Writing a non-fiction book entails more than I had expected, yet the finished product leaves me with a feeling of accomplishment. I'm strongly compelled by a commitment to help spread the truth about the health risks of perfume chemicals.

About the Book

Get A Whiff Of This is a book which will educate unsuspecting consumers of the deleterious effects that perfumes (fragrances) cause to human health and our environment. Perfumes, colognes, and many other scented products contain an abundance of harmful chemicals, many of which are listed on the EPA's Hazardous Waste List. They also include numerous carcinogenic chemicals, neurotoxins, respiratory irritants, solvents, aldehydes, hundreds of untested and unregulated petrochemicals, phthalates (which can act as hormone disrupters), narcotics, and much more.

Fragrance chemicals are in most personal care products, such as hairsprays, shampoos and conditioners, hair gels, body lotions, sunscreens, scented deodorants, and laundry products. Most shopping centers and grocery stores are filled with scented plug-ins, candles, potpourri, and alleged air fresheners. They are ubiquitous within our society, making them nearly impossible to avoid. Millions of people are disabled and housebound from repeated exposures to these products, which are falsely advertised.

Perfume formulations changed sometime around the late 70s and early 80s. Today, they are approximately 95-100% synthetic (man-made). Unfortunately, far too many people are under the false impression that perfumes and other artificially scented products are made from flowers or benign substances.

Get A Whiff Of This will allow consumers to view a chemical analysis of a popular perfume (fragrant portion only—ethanol not included in analysis) and read letters written in regards to a petition filed against the FDA to declare the perfume misbranded. People can review an abstract from a scientific, peer-reviewed published journal, as well as learn what is happening in Canada. Halifax Nova Scotia has outlawed perfumes and other scented products in most public buildings. The trend is spreading throughout Canada. Consumers will also learn more about a rapidly growing epidemic in the U.S., referred to as MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities).

Besides MCS, breast cancer, neurological disorders, central nervous system diseases, and asthma have reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. Get A Whiff Of This will detail the possible connections between these diseases and perfume (fragrance) chemicals. There is also reason to be concerned about fragrance chemicals and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Get A Whiff Of This is a book that spells out the truth behind the fragrance industry that falsely advertises their products as alluring, sexy, fresh, and pure.

Get A Whiff Of This is a book targeting unsuspecting consumers of all ages. It's a must read for anyone who would like to breathe fresh air versus contaminated air. Many health problems are not always equated to the source, such as Multiple Sclerosis, immune system dysfunction, chronic migraine headaches, heartbeat irregularities, cancer, and the list goes on. Fragrance chemicals have destroyed the lives of millions of people, rendering people unemployed, housebound, or worse yet, homeless. The numbers of people diagnosed with MCS are staggering and continue to grow.

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Get A Whiff Of This

I had a passion for perfumes and various other fragranced products. Spraying perfume on myself, lathering my hair with fragranced shampoos and conditioners, spreading perfumed lotions on my body, as well as using scented hair gels and lots of hairspray was simply a normal routine before leaving my house every day. Air fresheners and potpourri were used abundantly in my bathrooms and throughout my house. I absolutely loved scented candles. They sure did smell divine.
One morning, out of the blue, my perfume smelled different to me. The best word I can use to describe the smell was stench. Could this acrid odor be why my boss was usually out of the office? He and I shared a rather small working area. Reminiscing, I could not recall having received many compliments regarding my fragrance of choice. I'd been wearing Confess, the imitation brand of Calvin Klein's Obsession, for quite some time. There is no doubt that I was spraying on more and more perfume in order for me to smell it. I assumed that if I couldn't smell it, no one else could either. Perplexed as I was by this suddenly strange odor, I gave up perfumes, at least the types sprayed from bottles.
From that point on, I could not tolerate being in close proximity to anyone wearing Confess or Obsession. I'd experience an instant, left-sided migraine headache. My left eyelid drooped and heart palpitations often occurred when exposed to the very perfume I had once worn. What was wrong with this perfume? I wondered. Or what was wrong with me? Two of my closest friends (one wore Confess and the other Obsession) now had to refrain from wearing this particular scent while in my presence. At that time, I had no idea that this perfume problem was going to get worse—much worse!
Occasionally, I'd get a whiff of someone's pungent perfume and immediately feel outraged. How dare someone wear a fragrance so strong, causing me an instant headache? Perfume exposures would bring out the worst in me. I'd feel hostile and combative. Once out of the person's vapor trail, I would begin to resume normal behavior. The headaches would subside within approximately twenty minutes. As the years progressed, my headaches became more intense and lasted longer with each perfume exposure. I became quite concerned, as my world started to slowly close in on me. All the while, I was still using certain scented products such as hairspray, body lotions, and air fresheners, to name a few.

Shopping at malls or other department stores had become a challenge. I held my breath and ran swiftly past perfume counters. If someone was near me, smelling as if they'd literally bathed in their perfume, I'd become extremely agitated. All in all, though, shopping was something I still enjoyed, although I'd come home quite fatigued.
One Saturday afternoon, my mother, daughter, nephew, and I decided to eat lunch at Round the Corner, a nice hamburger joint located in the mall. Soon after our waitress seated us, a lady, marinated in perfume, was seated in the booth next to ours. Immediately, I stood up and insisted that we be seated as far away from this person as possible. There was no way I could have tolerated any lengthy period of time in close proximity to this woman's perfume.
Several years ago, in the early eighties, I was dining in a Chinese restaurant with my husband. Before finishing our meal, two people were seated in the booth behind us. Their fragrance was extremely overpowering. Both my husband and I could taste it in our food. I glanced over my shoulder, surprised to see two men occupying the booth. I wondered how they could possibly taste their food while so strongly doused in cologne. Prior to the assault, I had been in a pleasant mood, but that quickly changed to anger. Now I often wonder if fragrance chemicals are responsible for so much unexplained hostile behavior.
My oldest daughter used to wear a wretched smelling fragrance in the late-eighties. I checked her room and found a bottle of CK. I remember wondering what was up with initials for perfumes. I didn't realize that the initials stood for Calvin Klein at that time. My husband and I insisted she cut down on her usage, as every time she walked past us, we'd nearly suffocate. I remember wondering, what in the world has happened to perfumes? They sure have changed, compared to years past.
If trying to evade perfumes in public places wasn't bad enough, magazines had become scented. A magazine I once subscribed to was now impossible to read, as the scents were overpowering and headache provoking. Far too many magazines are scented these days, so I simply stopped buying them.
More and more perfumes were beginning to bother me. At times, my daughter's friends would stop by wearing perfume, cologne, or aftershave. I insisted that my daughter inform her friends to refrain from wearing scented products within my presence. A few of my own friends began wearing perfumes, and I wanted to avoid being near them. Time and repeated exposures would eventually bring me more misery.

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Get A Whiff Of This is available to purchase in Hardcover, Paperback, and E-book formats.

Publishing Details:
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: 1stBooks Library (2003)
ISBN: 1414008457 (Paperback)

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Posted November 15, 2003
©2003 - All rights reserved
This text may not be published, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

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