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Niki Alanko: An unscented product is a responsible choice

Niki Alanko | 28.04.2017

Consumers are becoming more and more interested in knowing what chemicals go into products. Many people consider themselves fragrance sensitive and may suffer from symptoms caused by a variety of scents and odours. As a result, unscented products are gaining popularity. Factors that also have a powerful impact on purchase decisions include trends and, for example, sensation-driven stories, which spread via social media, about chemicals. Fragrance sensitivity is more common in women than in men. Mild symptoms caused by fragrances include headaches or nausea. The cause of fragrance sensitivity is not yet known. More research is needed before it can be assessed whether women are more sensitive to fragrances than men due to their daily and prolonged exposure to chemicals. Cosmetics, perfumes, detergents, cleaning agents... The list of substances causing fragrance sensitivity is extensive.

The Allergy and Asthma Federation has been awarding the Allergy Label to allergen-free products for more than 20 years. Since the very beginning, a product being unscented has been one of the criteria for receiving the label. The inherent scents of the ingredients may not be covered up with even minuscule quantities of odorant chemicals. Therefore, manufacturers are required to do research to ensure that their consumer products are truly unscented.

At home, it is worthwhile considering whether household products need to be scented at all. In families with children, unscented cleaning agents are a responsible choice, because the floor is usually where the children play. Also, is it really necessary to use scented dishwashing agents? The dishes do not need it, nor does the dishwasher. Chemicals come into contact with our sensory channels, but they also touch our skin and end up in the environment via wastewater.

By choosing unscented products, everyone can impact not only one’s own fragrance load but also the well-being of others. Using powerful fragrances is no longer so fashionable, instead, it is seen as inconsiderate to others. Not all fragrances need to be eliminated from one’s life, but being a responsible consumer also improves the well-being of others and the environment.

Niki Alanko, Communication Services Director, Allergy Label
Allergy and Asthma Federation

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