The human sense of smell is very powerful. Consumers love a product that transports their senses elsewhere or evokes certain emotions. Companies that produce consumer products know this. They capitalize on the emotions that go with smell. The production of artificially scented products has increased substantially just over the past few decades. With this increase we've also seen a leap in allergies. This is not surprising considering thousands of chemicals are used to make these synthetic scents. Common symptoms of exposure include ear, nose and throat irritation, nausea and headaches. The chemicals that are often used to formulate these fragrances are toxic to the human body over time.

These chemicals are found in artificially scented air fresheners, soaps, detergents and cleaners, deodorants, lotions, perfumes and other common products. Many of the chemicals used to formulate certain aromas are actually petrochemicals. Petrochemicals are derived from natural gas and petroleum. Benzene, toluene, xylenes, and methanol are some of the common petrochemicals used in these aromatic concoctions. It is estimated that 95 percent of the synthetic fragrances on the market today are derived from petroleum by-products. Studies have shown that repeated use of synthetically fragranced air fresheners, cleaners and detergents produce toxic chemical interactions.

Even air can be contaminated by the interactions of these types of products. It is my request to the authorities related, to check the quality of the products available to the customers in the market. On the other hand it is the duty of the consumers to read the labels of the products they buy. If something is heavily scented, it is probably wise to avoid it. Also avoid products where the list of ingredients is a mile long and contains multiple unrecognizable chemical names.

M.MOAZEN BILAL,

Lahore, August 26.