Do you love perfumes? Who doesn’t? All of us do. But before you indulge in these luxuries, be careful. Those of you who are in the science stream would know that all these are chemical compounds and impact the environment in some way or the other.
A study, published in journal Science of The Total Environment, has revealed that the chemicals present in perfumes contaminate the environment. The study was conducted in the canals of Venice.
Researchers have found that the traces of perfumes were present in the canals, both in the inner city areas as well as outer areas with little or no habitation. The concentration of perfume molecules were found to be up to 500 times higher in the inner city canals.
Perfumes are present not just in scents and deodorants but also soaps, detergents, shampoos, moisturisers, creams, fresheners, room deodorisers, fabric softeners, laundry detergents, candles etc and many other personal hygiene products that we use daily.
Samples collected during conditions of low tide showed concentrations comparable to those of untreated waste water, the study revealed, confirming that fragrances are released continuously into the canals of Venice, both during high and low tide.
This means Venice’s existing system of treating wastewater through biological tanks which then flows directly into the canals, seems an insufficient method of lowering the concentration of these molecules.
Some of the most common chemicals in perfumes are ethanol, acetaldehyde, benzaldehyde, benzyl acetate, a-pinene, acetone, benzyl alcohol, ethyl acetate, linalool, a-terpinene, methylene chloride, styrene oxide, dimenthyl sulphate, a-terpineol, camphor, and limonene.
Manufacturers are not required to list these ingredients on the labels of the products nor do they have to reveal the specific ingredients that qualify as “fragrance” to regulating authorities because they are protected as trade secrets.
Some of these chemicals cause irritability, mental vagueness, muscle pain, asthma, bloating, joint aches, sinus pain, fatigue, sore throat, eye irritation, gastrointestinal problems, laryngitis, headaches, dizziness, swollen lymph nodes, spikes in blood pressure, coughing, and burning or itching skin irritations.