“Unscented” vs. “Fragrance-free”: KNOW the difference

frag freeSo, imagine this scenario:  You find yourself shopping for a product and, among the array of choices, you notice “unscented” or “fragrance-free”.  You might opt to choose one of these over a scented variety because it implies that there is at least one less additive in the product.  But are these terms synonymous? And do YOU know the difference?

Until recently, I didn’t.  I mistakenly assumed they meant the same thing.  Guess what?  I was wrong.

frag free methd 2“Fragrance-free” does mean that there is nothing added to the product, but unscented is a whole different ball game.  In fact, “unscented” is a fragrance additive, used to mask any other chemical smells, and it most likely contains phthalates.  What’s bothersome is that phthalates are known hormone disruptors and can affect fertility in both men and women.

Sure, some of us may not have family planning in our near future, and our brood may already be complete, but isn’t this a chemical we’d all simply like to leave out of our systems?

Stay “free” of the phthalates and, given the choice, always choose “fragrance-free”!

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13 thoughts on ““Unscented” vs. “Fragrance-free”: KNOW the difference

  1. Wow, thanks I never realized this. As someone who is very sensitive to smells I usually choose unscented and fragrance-free. Now I know to skip the “unscented”! I found you via Lisa Sharp.

  2. suzannah, Green Cat & Jackie – a shocker, I know! I was shocked myself… I never knew this until I discovered the tidbit of information! That’s why I shared it… and happy to know that now YOU know too… spread the word! (..and Green Cat… glad you “found” me!) :)

  3. Pingback: Environmentally Friendly - Healthy Lifestyle and Nutrition tips for Healthy Homes — KiwiLog - KIWI Magazine’s Blog

  4. Great tip and so glad you tweeted this around – so many people don’t realize that this is deceptive advertising. Even more important, these masking fragrances are used along with regular fragrances to hide evidence of applications of toxic chemicals. The EPA published a list of some 1500 fragrance chemicals approved for use in pesticides. Don’t you think some warning that toxic residues remain from recent chemical applications are important? We add odorant to natural gas so we know it is there!

    Ask the EPA to require an odorant in its pesticides so you know when your child’s school has been treated or your neighbor’s lawn etc. I write about these problems at my blog. Specific articles related to this subject are here:

    http://www.ieconnections.com/archive/feb_08/feb_08.htm#article3

    http://armchairactivist.us/2010/10/17/the-whistle-blower-express-calling-lisa-jackson/

    Nothing smells better than ‘clean’.

    Barb Rubin

  5. According to the FDA, a small amount of fragrance is allowed in a product labeled “fragrance free” to mask the fatty smell of the underlying product or any unpleasant odors. Yum!

    But, fragrance free is much better than unscented, so if you have to choose, go with the former. Better yet, check the ingredients and know exactly what you are putting on your skin.
    .-= Crunchy Chicken´s last blog ..Skipping green gifts for the kids =-.

  6. Wow, didn’t know that. Almost fragrance free. Hmm, is that related to the label thing where you don’t need to declare ingredients which are less than 1% of the formulation?

    Unfortunately, unless you ask for the MSDS sheet, you don’t know what percentage of the ingredients have been revealed to you. In some products, 98 percent of the contents are unreported.

    Barb

  7. Pingback: » “Certified Organic” vs. “Organic Ingredients”: the difference - Mom Goes Green

  8. Pingback: » Do you know what the “non-toxic” label means? - Mom Goes Green

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