• The Case Against Fragrance

    February 28, 2017 • BEAUTY, GUIDES

    The Case Against Fragrance - Kate Grenville

    Workplaces, public transport, shopping centres are all now places where we expect to be free from enduring someone else’s cigarette smoke.  But what of breathing in an strong fragrance that aggravates your senses?  Renown Australian author, Kate Grenville, reveals in her carefully-researched new book The Case Against Fragrance, that one third of the population report bad health effects from fragrance.  The number affected could be even higher because that was only the people who realised that fragrance was the culprit for their headaches, asthma and allergies.

    For those who do suffer from the effects, being forced to breathe in fragrance fumes from a co-worker or someone you are doing business with, is an unacceptable invasion of personal space.

    Fragrance was initially derived from flowers, captured in a precious glass bottle of scent and dabbed on sparingly. But post World War II, scientists found a way to synthesize the smells that was much cheaper than the natural version.  Today, our society is suffering from over-saturation of synthetic fragrance in almost everything we use, even toothpaste and bin liners.

    At a recent talk by author Kate Grenville at the Avid Reader bookshop in West End, we learned that the self-regulated fragrance industry selects from a palette of some 4000 chemicals to concoct fragrances, and because the formulas are a ‘trade secret’ they are not required to disclose those ingredients.  Most of these thousands of synthetic chemicals have never been tested for their health impacts.  Those that have been are assigned a ‘safe dose’ that is extrapolated from tests on rats and mice to apply to humans.  However, that ‘safe dose’ is taken in isolation, not accounting for an accumulation effect as a person is exposed to more of those chemicals throughout the day. Some of these synthetic chemicals have even been linked to hormone disruption and cancer.

    Kate put forward that if the chemicals used in many domestic air fresheners were coming out of an industrial smoke stack they would be regulated, but once again what is used in the home is not.

    We’re proud that Biome has always been a “fragrance-free” workplace as specified on our recruitment policies, and our stores have a gentle, pleasant smell due to our strict standards to not stock any products containing synthetic fragrance or parfum.

    We were encouraged to hear that in the USA and Canada, “fragrance free” workplaces are becoming more common post a few landmark court decisions.

    But in Australia, “fragrance-free workplaces” are not common, making Biome a leader in this area!

    There are many more fascinating parts of this story about ‘big fragrance’ as Kate calls the fragrance industry.

    Her solution is to be informed so that you can use your consumer power to avoid the hype and buy fragrance-free.   When choosing a body, cleaning or laundry product, Kate suggests choosing the simplest, most unmediated product that you can.

    We highly recommend The Case Against Fragrance to help you become a more empowered consumer and to avoid the toxic effects of synthetic fragrance.

    Kate quotes from Rachel Carson’s revolutionary environmental book published in 1962 Silent Spring.

    It is also an era dominated by industry, in which the right to make a dollar at whatever cost is seldom challenged…The public must decide whether it wishes to continue on the present road, and it can do so only when in full possession of the facts…

    “The obligation to endure gives us the right to know.”









    9 Responses to The Case Against Fragrance
    1. March 1, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      How do I contact Kate? I rang into the ABC Adelaide and spoke about genetics and methylation issues associated with this and would like to chat to her about them some more.

      Kind Regards, Michelle Crone Naturopathy


      • Biome team
        March 2, 2017 at 8:55 am

        Hi Michelle, thanks so much for your comment. You can contact Kate via her agent, details of whom are listed on her website: http://kategrenville.com/contact.

    2. dirtgirl
      March 1, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      Gosh, what an appropriate subject! Years ago staff in the big department stores would spray the perfume at you, but this was stopped due to the number of people allergic to fragrance. My friend was a receptionist at a specialist’s surgery and they had a huge notice on the wall asking women not to wear three of the well known ‘heavy’ perfumes due to the severe allergic reaction it could cause patients. I will definitely be grabbing a copy of this book. I am at a loss to know why some women feel the need to over marinate themselves in fragrance/perfume!

      • Biome team
        March 2, 2017 at 8:53 am

        Thank you so much for your feedback.

    3. Rachel
      March 2, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      Know any good natural perfume brands.

      • Biome team
        March 3, 2017 at 1:33 pm

        Hi Rachel, we stock a few natural perfumes > https://goo.gl/bCpPuX, or you could try making one yourself with essential oils.

    4. Dave Richards
      March 2, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      I heard a long interview with Kate Grenville on ABC Classic FM in which she said it wasn’t just artificial fragrances that were the program but the high concentrations of natural fragrances in essential oils, which do not occur naturally. personally I have found peppermint oil a god save in treating my headaches, but I think it needs to be said that Grenville is not just talking about synthetic fragrances.

      • Dave Richards
        March 2, 2017 at 9:34 pm

        Sorry should have been “artificial fragrances were the Problem ” not “program”!

        • Biome team
          March 3, 2017 at 1:34 pm

          Yes, absolutely, and she mentioned this at her book launch too.

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