Fragrant Cannibals & Their Cats:
April 3, 2000
Dear Ann Landers:
I'd like to comment on people who overuse perfumes and other fragrances. Most folks think perfumes are benign. I say, if a little
dab'll do ya, a little more will do ya in. Fragrances are composed of volatile organic compounds. They are unstable chemicals. Many are heat, air and light-sensitive and can be
more irritating and toxic than the original compounds. Some qualify as hazardous waste. Perfumes (and men's colognes and after-shaves) can
cause debilitating health problems to those who are sensitive to them.
They can penetrate the skin, and have been found in fat tissue and breast milk. Perfume can trigger asthma, cause migraines and contribute
to rheumatoid arthritis.
Please, Ann, tell your readers who insist on using fragrances to do so sparingly. It can be of grave importance to those around them.
And isn't it just spiffy that they include the little thing about finding the fragrances in breast milk?
The problem is that when you get down to measuring fractions of nanograms and picograms you can find just about anything anywhere. We probably DO eat at
least several, and maybe several hundred, nanograms of nice fresh people cells that float down on our food whenever we're out at a restaurant. And as
I've pointed out here in the past, alcohol drinkers commonly force all those around them to absorb alcohol fumes in quantities probably far GREATER than
mere hundreds of nanograms or even micrograms when they drink in restaurants.
For a problem far more real than secondhand smoke with regard to truly highly allergic people, we'd need to look no further than those who have pet cats.
Cat dander is HIGHLY allergenic, and most cat owners show up at work just COVERED in picograms and nanograms galore of cat dander which they shed,
willynilly, right and left, all over their poor innocent allergic co-workers. The resultant allergic congestive reactions set up ideal respiratory
conditions for the growth of deadly bacteria and cause an untold number (up to hundreds of thousands*) of early and painful deaths every year.
* Note: "up to" ... a favorite qualifier used by the Antis: zero is one of the possibilities included.