When I was a kid I remember my mother putting on Chanel Number Five to smell nice when she dressed up. Later I would wear perfumes, colognes, or what was actually called toilet water for special occasions. And once in a while my mother would use Air Wik to cover up an unpleasant odor in the house.
But in the late 1970s and early '80s fragrances started showing up -or smelling up - everywhere. From disposable diapers to cleaning products, laundry detergents to all personal care products, scented candles and air fresheners, fragrances have been everywhere ever since.
And that's a big problem.
We had to change churches many times because of my husband's severe allergic reactions to people sitting near him. While my allergies to perfumes are less severe, those smells may trigger my asthma. Even natural fragrances from botanicals can cause reactions in some people with pollen allergies.
And "odor eliminators" don't actually eliminate odors. Instead they make people's noses unable to detect the smells. That can be extremely dangerous for people with severe allergies.
Just about the time when fragrances began showing up in all kinds of products lots of babies were born who turned out to have autism. That condition had previously been rare but more and more kids are being diagnosed with it. Could one of the factors causing autism be exposure to the fragrances?
And what about pollution? Certainly other chemicals are in our atmosphere in greater amounts, but couldn't the ones in fragrances be part of that problem, too?
People who don't use colognes or perfumes often think they're fragrance free, but their noses are so used to the odors in their laundry and personal care products they aren't aware that they smell like those things all the time.
I think if most people switched to unscented products the world would be a safer place.