The cable guy

So I guess it’s been a while since I posted here. I’m bored with Sherri Blossoms, and my new creativity blog You Are the Muse hasn’t turned out like I’d hoped. So since I’m fragrancely frustrated at the moment, I thought I’d try venting here and see where it takes me.

What has me frustrated today is my new cable guy. I was disappointed to see a new guy, because my old guy, Stacy, was really handsome and nice and always wore the best cologne. And while that seems an odd thing to hear from a person as affected by fragrance as I am, just remember I don’t mind smelling the stuff, I just mind what it does to me. If a service person is going to bring a scent into my home (and they always do), it might as well be something I enjoy smelling. It softens the blow of the crappy after-feeling.

So the new guy, Mike, is also handsome but with the personality of a toad stool. All business. And, of course, the worst thing by far is he has that acrid smell of laundry detergent. I know it’s not the detergent itself, because I use free & clear detergent and it doesn’t have that smell. It’s a fragrance they add, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why, as it stinks. I think it’s the under-smell of cheap fragrance in general, because I’ve smelled it other places, too. I think people get used to smelling it so it becomes background noise, but it’s so obviously horrid when you don’t have it around every day.

Anyway, it sucks. I have all the windows open with a stiff wind blowing through, and still the acrid scent lingers. At least he didn’t sit on any of my furniture. And I must say, he got the job done and my cable is working perfectly. Too bad I won’t be able to watch it for the migraine I’ll undoubtedly get later.

Fragrance ingredients to be disclosed

A reader brought this article to my attention: http://www.icis.com/blogs/green-chemicals/2009/08/ It says that the International Fragrance Association plans to begin voluntarily disclosing the ingredients used in the industry. Since it’s voluntary, I doubt they’ll disclose anything that may harm their bottom line, but we’ll see.

On a personal note, my recovery time is way shorter after exposure, especially since I figured out the best thing to do is rest, no matter what. I think with rest and continued avoidance, I may heal enough to re-enter society within the next year. Realistically, I know I’ll probably have symptoms for a long while, if not the rest of my life. But I hope if I listen to my body and give her the support she needs to heal, it will eventually be a problem I used to have.

My favorite fragrance-free products

I’ve been in a lot of public places lately, which means a lot of fragrance exposure. I’d relaxed my defensive efforts–nose filters, mask, short excursions–because it seemed fragrance’s hold was lifting. I have tight, burning eyes and sinus pressure regardless of whether I go out now, and my short trips to the store and the longer outing to my friend’s place…Well, it seemed like those things weren’t making the symptoms worse like it used to. I thought my body was recovering.

I still think it is, but I’m finding out that repeated exposure can still build up. I’ve left only a day between each exposure over the past week or two–library, casino, grocery store, school enrollment, pizza place–and it has sure been taking a toll. I need longer rest time in a neutral environment between each outing to allow my body to metabolize the toxin. It’s such a relief to get back to my home, the most neutral environment I’ve found.

I’ve avoided making a list of fragrance-free products I use, because of laziness, yes, but also because until now I hadn’t tried enough of them to settle on a list of favorites. These products work as well as the ones they replaced, and in some cases better.

Cleaners

  • Clorox Green Works Natural dishwashing liquid, Free & Clear. I love this stuff. I also put it diluted in pump bottles for hand washing.
  • Soapopular hand sanitizer is completely inoffensive
  • Simplicity Hypoallergenic Non-toxic automatic dishwasher sachets
  • Borax is an excellent grease cutter. Nothing better for getting grease off appliances.
  • Ammonia
  • Vinegar
  • Water. Seriously, do you need to use a chemical everytime you wipe the crumbs off the counter?

I have yet to find a suitable replacement for toilet bowl cleaner, so I just use ammonia or vinegar, whatever I’m in the mood for, but they don’t really get rid of the water stains. I’m still looking. Be wary of trash bags, because they often have fragrance added.

Body-care products

  • Earth Science Fragrance Free Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Aveeno Active Naturals Skin Relief Body Wash, Fragrance Free (I prefer the store brand version of this, because it doesn’t seem to have as much of an odor and it’s cheaper, but this will be more easily found.)
  • Dove Sensitive Skin bar soap. Make sure it says “Fragrance Free” on the package and not “unscented.”
  • Dove Sensitive Skin antiperspirant. Again, make sure it says “Fragrance Free” on the package. “Hypoallergenic” doesn’t always encompass it.
  • Almay makeup contains no fragrance ever, as far as I can tell.
  • Lubriderm Daily Moisture for me, and Suave Natural Oatmeal Moisturizer for DH
  • Olay Complete All-day Moisture Lotion, Sensitive Skin.

Be wary of any feminine hygiene products, because they do not have to list any added fragrance. I once bought a package of Carefree panty liners and was surprised with fragrance, so I avoid all their products, just in case.

Along my journey through the house listing all my products, I found a couple of scented products that sneaked past me. One was the Dove “unscented” soap, the other was my husband’s hairspray, both of which don’t list fragrance in the ingredients. I assume they list the actual chemical name of the fragrance, but the research to find out which one would be a couple of hours. And it doesn’t matter, anyway, because they have to go. These could be the reason for my constant eye and sinus irritation, and also the reason for the decreased stamina outside of the house. I’ve put that soap on my face every single day for a couple of weeks.

Anyway, that’s my list. Here’s an interesting interview I tweeted yesterday about toxins in personal care products if you’re interested in such things.

Update: So guess what? I didn’t use the soap or antiperspirant, and I feel tons better. It’s like night and day. I’m so happy I could scream. 🙂

ORFE #3

Odd Random Fragrance Encounter #3:

The pneumatic tube at the bank drive-through gusted “freshened” indoor air right in my face. Twice. Also, handling the cannister and receipt left smell on my hands that I haven’t been able to get off.

–Me

I’m a loser.

It’s an honor just to be nominated. As a young blog, Poison Scents couldn’t compete with the big boys. Congratulations to the winner and runner-up in my category!

Best Unusual Blog
That’s Baloney!
Runner-up, Strange State Paranormal Mysteries in Oklahoma

Go to Okie Dokie for a complete list of winners. Thanks guys, for letting me play! There’s always next year.

Odd Random Fragrance Encounter #2

Reader Linda posted her own ORFE:

Organic squash from a farmers market – thoroughly scented, from either soaking in fragranced dish detergent or sitting in a plug-ined room for days. Wasn’t washable.

Wow, how weird! So basically, even though you were buying an organic product, which by definition is grown without chemicals, you were still exposed to chemicals. Did you eat it? Did the scent disappear with cooking? Thanks for your sharing your ORFE.

Odd Random Fragrance Encounter #1

ORFE #1 On my styrofoam drink cup at Sonic Drive-thru. Might have been perfume or cleaner or air freshener. Hard to tell.

How about you? Have you detected fragrance in an unexpected place? Leave your ORFE in the comments, or email it to me at sherri AT sherricornelius DOT com. I’ll put it in a future post.

Also, Oklahoma bloggers, don’t forget to vote in the Okie Blog Awards. Poison Scents has been nominated in the Best Unusual Blog category.