“We often do not understand how harmful a compound can be, until it has become a commonplace item in our everyday life.” – Stink Documentary

Here in America, we love our products for everything from household cleaning, to beauty, and skincare. We fall in love with colors and packaging, shapes, new trends, favorite smells, and things to make our lives seemingly easier. But the question that more of us really need to be asking these days is, what is in all of our favorite products?

Everything you put on or in your body is going to have some sort of effect on your body, especially if it’s laced with toxic chemicals. There are chemicals in many of the products we use everyday that have never been tested for safety, and may even have a whole list of secret ingredients too. There is no one out there really checking to be sure things are safe. There are no extreme regulations and there are only around 10 chemicals banned in the United States, compared to the 1,200 banned in the UE.

There are toxic chemicals hiding in your clothing, your body lotion, your hand wash, and especially your perfume, and you would think it would just be common practice to be able to ask, “hey, what’s in this?”

But you can’t. Companies are protected to their proprietary blends of chemicals that are usually laced full of toxic phthalates, flame retardants and other endocrine disrupting synthetic hormones and toxic yahoos. They are able to hide an illusive “fragrance wall” or a chemical loophole.  

Recently I watched a new documentary on Netflix called Stink, where they explored more into this concept and tried to even reach out to top political leaders and company CEOs to dig deeper into this “fragrance wall” specifically. But guess what happened a majority of the time? They were greeted with responses such as, “I can’t disclose that” and “I don’t know that information,” and “This information is considered proprietary for the company.”

These types of revealing documentaries always get under my skin (literally). I’ve been traumatized by a lot of documentaries before––especially ones related to food and the government and vaccine safety, but my goodness really? You have the multi psycho-amount-of-money Beauty and Skincare market, heavily marketed towards 50% of the population mind you, and there are toxic chemicals laced in all of it. Plus, here in America, a lot of those chemicals are never even tested or regulated. It’s really no wonder that chronic disease is so apparent these days, especially when you start talking about cancer rates, obesity rates, infertility and so many other things.

We as consumers, are being poisoned throughout our entire day-to-day routines.

Fun fact: If you were to test the bloods of Americans alone, the tests would show over a hundred toxic chemicals running through us at one time.

“So basically we are living in a toxic soup, and it’s an experiment on human health.”

There have been so many new products I fell in love with this past year, and looked to for answers and solutions to avoid toxic chemicals. I would be devastated to learn that any of them were hiding behind the secret “fragrance wall” after everything good they represent. But despite all my trust and confidence I had in my own choices, I found there were still questions needing to be answered.

Specifically, with my natural deodorant selections that I searched long and hard for and couldn’t have been more proud of, only to find that each one had “fragrance” listed as one of the ingredients.

Fragrance can be a mixture of hundreds of different chemicals and used to entice you into buying a product. “It could be that the fresh smelling scent is what is making us sick”, as they say on Stink – and that is what worried me the most about discovering this in my deodorants. I actively try to make better choices for myself and have been on a natural product mission for many years. I trust my product choices to be completely transparent, I listen to the owners on podcasts, I screen their social media. I develop trust in them, and don’t expect them to deceive me.

The same way that John Weldman called and questioned Justice clothing on “Stink” to help understand what is the toxic chemical smell coming from his daughters clothing, is the way I approached both Kopari Beauty and Schmidt’s Naturals: upset, and disappointed, but straight to the point.

“Can you please help me understand what is in the “fragrance” listed in your deodorant? I don’t want to use secret toxic chemicals on my body.”

Response from Jaime Schmidt, Schmidt’s Naturals: “Some of Schmidt’s products use a combination of essential oils and natural plant isolates to achieve the scent. In these products, the goal of not listing out every single component is to protect the proprietary formulation of the particular blend. These more complex formulations are always in alignment with our natural standards. No nasties hiding behind “fragrance” in our case.

Response from Gigi Goldman, Kopari Beauty: “Our original deodorant contains less than one percent of phalate-free fragrance. We also did hypoallergenic and RIPT testing on the fragrance and formula. All of our products have also received the clean seal at Sephora.”

 

Let’s break fragrance down a little further.

There are two different types of fragrance. There is fragrance derived from petroleum and that derived from plants. Natural fragrance, or ‘plant fragrance’ makers do often list what ingredients they use because there is no reason for it to be a secret.

The formula for fragrance is protected as a trade secret by the US government. Weird huh? You’re eating fragrance. You’re wearing it. You’re washing your hands with fragrance. In America, almost all consumer products contain fragrance. There are hidden ingredients in fragrance that have been linked to a wide variety of drastic health issues including cancer, asthma, obesity, infertility and chronic allergies.

Arguably the biggest issue with fragrance is the phthalates. Phthalates, part of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), are already found in just about everything––including fragrance. These EDCs mimic natural components of our systems and our hormones and can interfere with their regular functions. This exposure to toxic chemicals creates havoc in our body and interferes with our normal processes. Ultimately, this can lead to infertility, birth defects and many other dangerous outcomes.

Everything is sensitive to this disruption.

This is a global health threat. There has not been any testing on the safety and affect on us, our children and our environment! But, just wait, it gets worse… EDCs can mutate too. We are all becoming genetically modified by toxic chemicals.

Chemicals are mixtures. There’s no way to know for sure how those mixtures are all interacting with each other and how they are going to interact with us. Think about the rises in disease and chronic illness that we are experiencing. Without getting too much into the politics of it all, this sh*t is getting out of control. We need to stay educated and keep fighting for better safety in America (and in the world).

Some of the same secret chemicals in Chanel No. 5 are also in your toilet bowl cleaner

Cancer is devastating people’s lives. We all know someone who has it, or who has died from it. All of our chemical exposures in our life affect our lifetime outcomes and this includes if we develop cancer or not. It’s really important to pay attention to what’s in the food we eat, what’s on the clothes we wear, and what’s in our products.

But cancer isn’t even the worst part anymore. Nowadays, we are born pre-polluted, before even spending one breathing minute in this world. Tests have been done on the umbilical cord blood from babies in the US, testing for more than 300 different toxic chemicals. They found 287 different chemicals in these babies, all coming from consumer products like teflon, flame retardants, fragrances, and anything else their mother consumed or was exposed to. These chemicals are all around us, in our environment, and in our bodies.

What we don’t know can’t hurt us, right?

The problem is we trust. We trust that something wouldn’t be able to be sold without it being tested and assured for safety. We assume this, and oftentimes we don’t think twice about it. When the truth is that couldn’t be more fundamentally far away from what the reality is.

As consumers, we have to take control of our own health and wellness. I did my homework here, I watched the documentary, I reached out to the company, I engaged to an online community I’m a part of to get their thoughts.

Through this research, I have decided to continue to use both Kopari and Schmidt’s Naturals deodorants, but I’ve elected to purchase their “fragrance free” options moving forward, for safe(r) measure. I still have a level of trust for these companies, and really don’t want to give up on them for all the great change they are making in the skincare world, but I have to acknowledge what I’ve learned from “Stink” too. I can’t take chances on something as important as my life anymore, and one small change in the right direction is still a positive change from the way I see things.

350 million Americans exposed to toxic chemicals every day. We need to pay attention to the chronic effects of chemicals, not just the acute effects.