I have not realized that even mild odors can be harmful. I occasionally use dryer sheets and air fresheners and do not find the smells very offensive. Does this mean I have been poisoning myself?
Unfortunately yes. You inhale over 2000 gallons of air per day. An even small concentration of toxins in your living space will result in absorption of the significant amount of chemical particles directly into your blood.
Another important factor is your perception. If you have been living in a polluted environment for a while, your perception of odors is most likely severely degraded. What you consider a “mild odor” may, in fact, present a high concentration of a hazardous air pollutant.
In fact, people who have multiple chemical sensitivities are in fact individuals who have frequent access to an unpolluted environment. Therefore their sense of smell is actually more balanced and they smell and react to chemicals better than those who suffer from chemical desensitization (decreased chemical sensitivity) via chronic exposure to environmental pollution.
Chemical substances and their effects on sense of smell.
- The first symptom of chronic exposure to a poisonous chemical is the absence of the sense of smell for the poisoning agent. If you have chemically intoxicated yourself for more than a few weeks, you have most likely completely lost your sense of smell for the offending substance(s). The result of chronic exposure to hazardous pollutants produces the effect of chemical desensitization, or what’s called “reduced sensitivity” for the offending substance.
The recovery of the sense of smell on a neurological level may occur on withdrawal from the exposure to the substance(s) within 1-3 months. Your body should be able to detoxify the tissue deposits within a couple of years.
- The chemical products mostly utilize 1,4-Dichlorobenzene, which is an EPA registered pesticide and is identified as the most hazardous carcinogen and nerve function degrading chemical. When this substance reaches your nose odor receptors, it damages the function of these receptors within a minute of exposure. This is how the air fresheners actually work – by decreasing your ability to perceive odors.
If persistently exposed to these substances, you may acquire neurological disabilities including but not limited to loss of sense of smell and reduced ability to taste. The food may begin taste flat requiring the use of condiments to continue enjoying the foods. Many unexplained chronic pain syndromes are also the result of permanent neurological damage after an extended exposure to the chemicals.
Your nose is there to alert you of the dangers. If you sense a foreign substance in the air – pay attention and take appropriate measures. Do not ignore exposure to any type of chemicals – even if they’re claimed to be “organic” or “green”. Any substance, whether organic or inorganic is toxic in excessive amounts. In fact, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are considered the most dangerous.