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Fragrances can add a wonderful addition to the ambiance of a room, but todays modern fragrances are nothing like the essences once distilled from plants and flowers. Americans are enamored with fragrances, but few know the dangers that can be associated with synthetic fragrances. There are at least 4000 different chemicals used by the fragrance industry today, many of which have never been tested for safety (A single fragrance can contain up to 200-600 individual chemical ingredients). Fragrance sensitivity in the workplace and in the home is on the rise. Have you ever noticed that you feel ill when exposed to certain fragrances? Most synthetic fragrances today are made from petrochemicals, which give off volatile organic compounds (vocs), these compounds have been known to produce a myraid of allergic reactions including; eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, dizziness, nausea, rash, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system, say experts.

In 1986, the national academy of science targeted fragrances as one of the six categories of chemicals that should be given high priority for neurotoxicity testing. The report states that 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. They include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and many other known toxins and sensitizers which are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions. "Neurotoxins: At Home and the Workplace" (Report by the Committee on Science and Technology. U.S. House of Representatives, Sept. 16, 1986) [Report 99-827]

It is no wonder that the American Lung Association cautions candle users against prolonged exposure to fragrances and soot for our very young, the elderly, and those with respiratory diseases. Even after banning methylene chloride (a known carcinogen that also causes autoimmune disease) in 1989, an EPA study two years later listed the chemical as one of the 20 most common chemicals found in fragrance products. In a 2001 study, the EPA reported that synthetic fragrances were shown to cause "possible mutagenic and genotoxic effects." Synthetic fragrances have also been shown to contain hormone disruptors which are linked to abnormal cell reproduction and may result in tumor growth. Phthalates are a "family of industrial chemicals that are used as plastic softeners or solvents in many household products" and find their way into fragrance recipes, but are rarely disclosed. Many different personal care products, cosmetics and household products contain these chemicals, which have been shown to damage the liver, the kidneys, the lungs and the reproductive system. (1991 Environmental Protection Agency Paper #A312 Candles and Incense As Potential Sources of Indoor Air Pollution Environmental Protection Agency January 2001.)
It may seem crazy, but the FDA does not even require fragrance manufacturers to disclose the ingredients of synthetic fragrances because these formulas are regarded as "proprietary." Such "proprietary" ingredients commonly include numerous known carcinogens but are protected under the FDA's "trade secret" law. Why do other companies use synthetic fragrances in the first place? Money, of course. Compared to high quality pure essential oils, synthetic fragrance oils are an incredibly cheap way to scent a candle. Many people either are naive to the dangers that synthetic chemical- based fragrances pose, or they just dont care to share it with you.

The sad part is that since many companies are looking to appear more natural or green in their marketing, they often will market the fact that their product is made with essential oils, but realize that this often translates into a small amount of essential oil added to their petrochemical based synthetic fragrances. Thus, resulting in the a candle that still contains the hazards of synthetic fragrance, with no aromatherapy benefits. 

So, what exactly what is AROMATHERAPY and how does it all work?

and how does it all work? Aromatherapy is simply using pure extracts or essences (essential oils) from flowers, herbs, and trees to promote health and well-being to our minds, bodies, and spirits. The roots of aromatherapy can be traced back more than 4000 years, yet the term 'aromatherapy' was first coined in the 1920's by a French chemist named Rene Maurice Gattefosse.

Did you realize that our connections to certain scents are very personal? This is because we register scents in the limbic system of our brain, the part of our brain where our memories are stored, our moods are stimulated, and our emotions are processed. So, as we smell a certain aroma, we subconsciously react to it even before we are even aware of it. Good smells make us feel good! Each and every essential oil used in aromatherapy has certain innate characteristics and properties, some automatically calm and relax us, while others can stimulate and energize us. Essential oils have also been proven to have antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties that make them good for our bodies as well . Now with the current popularity of “aromatherapy” products that are on the market today (everything from dish soaps to synthetic air fresheners), the word “aromatherapy” has almost been rendered meaningless. So, please remember that true aromatherapy is the use of pure plant essences, essential oils, to improve our health and emotional well-being, things that are not achieved with a cheap synthetic chemical fragrance.