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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 04:57 PM
Original message
My last post was about "smelly chemicals in Chinese/Indian Shoes that
Edited on Sat Sep-23-06 05:08 PM by KoKo01
are imported and my difficulty in finding shoes that didn't "smell."

I went out to my local malls today to try to replace some worn out clothes and found it's not only shoes that smell of "chemicals" but the CLOTHES that are for sale.

Have any of you been out there? The odor is terrible. Clothes from India with beads and bangles and dyes that maybe our FDA (before Bush) might have BANNED! Terrible quality clothing from the most inexpensive brands to the Liz Claiborn (Mariana's Islands Slave Camps) to Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren.

$69,00 for an Acrylic Cardigan (looking like a cast off in the Salvation Army Thrift shop ala the 1950's) and having an odor...to the cute multi-sequined and beaded "tops" that are in all prices and sizes from the "Carribean Joe" line.

I was gagging to get out of the stores with the smells. We know that many imported toys and products from China (cookware, dishes and childrens toys) have been recalled because of dangerous LEAD in the products. Even Crayola Crayons were recalled because of lead.

Who is monitoring these imports to see what's in them that causes that terrible odor. With the Chinese shoes it seems to be the "glues" they use to hold the shoes together. Who knows what's in that glue...does our FDA KNOW?

With the Indian Clothes it's a smell from the dyes that DOES NOT WASH OUT. I've had to discard clothes from India because of the odor of the dyes in the past. Yet, it seems most of the clothes out there in my Mainstream Mall Stores (Belks, Dillards, New Macy's and Penny's) are all imported from India, Jordan and VietNam. Yet the Indian Clothes seem to have the strongest chemical smell.

This is PART II of my MALL WATCH series.... Anyone else notice this?
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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 05:03 PM
Response to Original message
1. Yes, I have
Some clothes do smell badly of chemicals. I try not to buy them, but it gets more prevalent all the time. The dyes are really bad these days too.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. well...thanks for the verification. I worried maybe DU'ers think I'm the
"Cranky Critic" with my "Mall Watch" stuff...but with so many who are health conscious here...it's odd that more folks aren't concerned about what we are wearing as well as what we are eating.

Those with children, I would think would be very concerned about whats going on. :shrug:
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. I shop at Goodwill.
Kind of musty smelling there sometimes, but the clothes are older so there's fewer chemicals. And the must washes out.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. Hey....there's good stuff to be found there and in Thrift Shops or "Second
Hand Rose Shops" because so MANY Millionaires are donating what they bought but just don't have time in the year to wear.

Given the stuff I'm seeing...OLD IS BETTER!!!!
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flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 05:15 PM
Response to Original message
3. i notice it too and i am hyper sensitive to the smell..and i smell it
"on people" when i am out as well..and i really smell it when my hubby has on Tommy Bahama or stuff like that..now hubby says he doesn't smell it..but it almost makes me sick..the smell i react to horribly..or friends husbands if they have that stuff on..i almost get sick..and i get bad migraines and lately i hve noticed when i am around that smell the next day i get a migraine..

i have wondered what we are being exposed to ..if it can cause a migraine..

i know i have sensitivities..but those clothes give me a violent reaction..i have even made my husband take those clothes out of our closet and put in the cedar closet..away from my clothes...

but the smell is real..and the reaction i get from it is real..

fly
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emcguffie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. Sounds like you have what they call "multiple chemical sensitivities"
Which isn't any fun, but which a lot more people are developing these days.

And people with chronic illnesses, like gulf war syndrome, and the badly-misnamed chronic fatigue syndrome, often have that problem.

My daughter gets so sick in my car she can't ride in it. And I myself am pretty sensitive to smells, so if it makes her that sick, it surprises me that it doesn't bother me. (I'm pretty sick.)

Things with perfume are no-nos in our house, entirely. Everything is unscented, and has been for at least 15 years. Everything is natural fibers, too.

I hope you feel better soon. It's hard to avoid those nasty smells, especially in public places. I've never understood how people can actually wear perfume. Makes me sick as a dog. Scented hairsprays, scented deodorants -- on other people, they make me sick.

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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. Wow, that sounds just like me
"It's hard to avoid those nasty smells, especially in public places. I've never understood how people can actually wear perfume. Makes me sick as a dog. Scented hairsprays, scented deodorants -- on other people, they make me sick."

And the worse part for me is that when I avoid such smells--and sometimes some people who invariably have them--they often misinterpret what I'm doing as antisocial or hostile towards them. It's hard to explain that their aftershave makes me gag!
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emcguffie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #14
27. How do you feel otherwise?
It isn't exactly uncommon these days. All these chemicals in our environment aren't good for us.

Sick building syndrome. New buildings make people sick, with all the chemicals in all the manufactured goods in them. Outgassing. Such as all the engineered "wood" that isn't just plain old wood. You know, the wood chips all put back together into something like wood. They "outgas" preservatives. New carpets outgas preservatives.

I had a new refrigerator once. Made food taste so bad it couldn't be eaten. Stank to high heaven. Something in the plastic they made the inside with. At first, they tried to make me keep it and put lots of charcoal in it. That didn't do anything. It was bad plastic, sorry. I couldn't eat anything that came out of that refrigerator!

Then, they sold me these plastic bags to put my breastmilk in, for my daughter! Same thing. Special, expensive plastic bags, to freeze your breast milk. Hmph! Ruined it.

It really is time for us to "rise up" and take power away from the corporations. The way it is now, they are shoving bad health down our throats. And this is bass ackwards.

It should not be nearly impossible to go out and buy healthy vegetables to feed your family. It should not be nearly illegal to grow food in a healthy way. It's just time for us to put our collective feet down and say, no more, buddy!

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KT2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-24-06 01:31 AM
Response to Reply #14
30. You could tell the people
that their fragrance products have NOT been tested for safety and human health effects. Use of chemicals in personal care products is under the control of the manufacturers and testing is voluntary.

Many of the chemicals used can affect the human nervous system among other things. You may want to take a look at this site and share the info with those that are offended. They have no idea that they may be adversly affecting their own health:
http://www.fpinva.org/
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graywarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 05:15 PM
Response to Original message
4. I had to toss a new pair of sandals because they smelled so bad.
Another thing is dry cleaning. I can't stand the smell of dry cleaned clothes. I'd rather Woolite my stuff. Worst smelling things to me are acrylic sweaters. I can sniff em out a mile away.
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yy4me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 05:18 PM
Response to Original message
6. I recently worked for a company that imports a very specific
type of womens clothing from China. Those of us in the room where they were unboxed and set up for shipment to the stores commented frequently that something smells like dead fish. Happened most often when the new shipments came in and large numbers of garments had to be handled. Not strong but certainly noticeable. I'm not even sure the comparison to dead fish is a good one but I don't know anything else that smells like this stuff.
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 06:40 PM
Response to Reply #6
25. My mother used to tell me that new clothes were treated with
fish paste as a kind of starch. Whether that's true or not I dunno, but reading your post made me think of it...

I actually kind of like the smell... but I almost never buy new clothes...
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eleny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 05:30 PM
Response to Original message
8. I can't fnd your previous "shoe" posting
Can you please post or send me the link?
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #8
16. Here it is from DU Archives:
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jeff30997 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
9. "Who knows what's in that glue"
It's people. Soylent Glue is made out of people!!!
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bbinacan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
10. Either you have a tremendous sense of smell
or I have a very poor one. As I mentioned in your "shoe" post, I just bought a pair of Cole Haans made in India and they just smell like leather to me. Full disclosure, I smoke so maybe I can't detect all the smells.
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conflictgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 05:56 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. Smoking does make a difference
I used to smoke and couldn't detect a lot of smells (or tastes) that I could once I quit. For example the taste of tomato sauce completely changed once I quit smoking. It was very strange!

Also, I don't think the chemical odors are as strong in leather shoes. If you get shoes made out of synthetic materials, it's a lot worse. I got a pair of Skechers sandals (that are incidentally the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn) that have rubber soles and kind of a neoprene material for the uppers. Those shoes stunk when they were brand-new, and then once I wore them they made my feet stink horribly.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #13
19. I smoked years ago...and always had a keen sense of smell....
was born with it.... :shrug:
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 06:41 PM
Response to Reply #10
26. Please post at some point how they held up for you. Indian and Chinese
leather is much thinner than the leather used in former American Made Shoes or those made in Brazil and Spain. Although Spanish leather is thin...it is tanned in a way that holds up very well.

The Indian and Chinese leather is spliced and if you look carefully is not evenly tanned like the old American shoes were. Surface often has flaws and there is an "odor" but perhaps you aren't sensitive to what real leather "American Style" was years ago... and may be confusing the Indian odor with real leather...American style. :shrug:

Shocking that Cole Haan had to go to India just to cut some $$'s off their price, though>

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bbinacan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 08:05 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. I answered that question
on your previous "shoe" post. My last Cole Haans lasted at least five years. The leather on my new pair seem to be of the same quality. I'm happy with the quality. One thing that is curious is that I paid $150 for my last pair and $150 for my new pair. The price hasn't gone up in 5 years.
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NV Whino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-24-06 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #26
37. I just ordered a pair of (are you ready?)
Hush Puppies. Yep, good old Hush Puppies. I ordered from a catalog that specializes in narrow sizes and these look nice. Got them and thought, "Wow, that a funny color." Looked more closely and sure enough: Made in China. Thin leather, too. Not the Hush Puppies I remember.

And back to the color. There is something slightly off with colors coming from China and India. They just look cheap. (And by the way, they weren't inexpensive.)
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conflictgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 05:54 PM
Response to Original message
12. Have you tried organic clothing?
You can do a search for it, or you can look at some of these places:

http://www.bluecanoe.com
http://www.maggiesorganics.com /
http://www.patagonia.com

Organic clothing is made from either cotton or wool and uses non-chemical based dyes. Sometimes it's more expensive, but I just found an organic cotton henley-style shirt a few weeks ago at TJ Maxx for $13. :)
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #12
21. I do try to buy mostly cottons...but they are the very clothes that have
the "dyes" since "cotton" is big in Indian Clothing...(natural fibers). I used to shop alot at Lands End and LL Bean until they went to Asia...and the sizing was crap and I had to send so much back via UPS that it wasn't worth the bother anymore. Also Lands End got bought out and then Sears bought them and it wasn't the same for either of them anymore. To survive they had to outsource without the "control" they had in the 80's. Remember the Irish handknitted sweaters? Scottish Wools? there's not much left of their business the way it was in the 80's. Sadly.

I was looking for FASHION today...something that I don't just wear around the house that's natural fiber that I've worn for years. I worry about those who are buying this "SMELLY STUFF" for their kids and themselves who don't know any better. That's what my post was about. :shrugh:

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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
15. go to target they sell some clothes made in Vietnam
I have some shorts and they are the best fitting most confortable shorts I've had, real high quality materials and workmanship and priced right too.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 06:17 PM
Response to Original message
17. I cannot even go into a fabric store without my eyes burning
Companies used to "set the dyes" with formaldehyde (or so a clothing salesman told me when I asked him why clothes smelled).. I would have thought they had stopped that by now, but my eyes still burn whenever I go into a fabric store :shrug:
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #17
28. I know...I end up with teary eyes from fabric stores. This is worse,
though. The smell clings after one has left the store!

But, I know what you say. The formaldehyde has been on fabric for awhile to keep it crisp and free from wrinkles.

If we are still here...I guess that didn't kill us but I worry more about the IMPORTS!
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 06:18 PM
Response to Original message
18. I rarely go to the mall.
The last time I went I did buy a pair of shoes (on sale) at "The Walking Store". A pair of "Naot" shoes from Israel-very comfy. That store sell shoes that I believe are made in Italy, Sweden, Germany and other European locations and I think that few, if any, of the shoes sold there are made in China. Brands like Born, Birkenstock, Dansko, TEVA, Merrill, Keen, etc. Every pair of shoes that I've bought with these name brands are very well made, have lasted a long time and are oh so comfy. However, more often than not I've purchased some (not all) of these brands (usually on the mens rack) at ROSS for a fraction of the price of the mall store.

As for smells at the mall, I am very sensitive to chemical smells and I haven't really noticed chemical smells in the stores, but then again, I rarely go to the mall. Maybe the air filtration system is set on high at the mall I go to and that's why I haven't noticed a smell! Mainly, I avoid the mall because I dislike and can't afford the high prices, but more importantly, hate the massive commercialization that is pushed in your face there. Instead, I shop ROSS, TJ Maxx, Target or local shops most of the time and only hit the mall when I have to find a few specific things-maybe once a season. I have noticed however that the quality of most stuff made these days is VERY poor and cheap, so I totally agree that it has gotten harder and harder to find clothing that is made to last. But since I'm no slave to fashion, I usually wait to find clothes that I really like. I also find stuff at the thrift store, though I'm picky there and buy nothing that is too worn or poor quality. I also often find new or near new, good quality purses there but never buy their used shoes-just a bit too icky for me.

Given the rampant greed in this country, it's no surprise that our shopping choices are poor quality, chemical laden ones. While the thugs in Washington DC go on and on about Terra! Terra! Terra!, they simply ignore the safety of the contents of the massive influx of cargo we now have in this country. The EPA is in bed with greedy corporate bastards, so NO ONE is monitoring any of it. :grr:
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NV Whino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 06:20 PM
Response to Original message
20. Just a theory, here, but
I know that imported antiques are treated with insecticides. I may be that imported clothes are, too. And I do know what you are talking about on the smell. Yuk.

Read "Canary in the Courtroom." It is a biography by a friend of mine who was poisoned by a "natural" insecticide applied to her house for termites. She now has mulitple chemical sensitivity and can't work. You can find it at Amazon or Barns and Noble and other places.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. Interesting...I'll check it out. Amazing that a "Natural Insecticide"
could cause so many problems.
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KT2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 06:26 PM
Response to Original message
22. KoKo01 - very important point
We should all be wary of imported goods. Now that so much of our everything is made elsewhere, we should realize that we are living with the environmental health standards of other countries. Sometimes that is good and sometimes bad. We do know that many countries are using products that are banned here but are still sold by American companies to other countries.

In addition to the chemicals it takes to make the clothing and shoes, they must also be able to withstand long storage in humid and wet conditions. They are held in warehouses as well as transported across the oceans. They must also be able to deter pests and insects while in storage. Chemicals solve most of those problems.

In the US formadehyde is a useful chemical that is used on almost all textile products - including childrens clothing and bedding. (adult too). There are no standards for the amount they can contain. In Japan, putting formadehyde in underwear and children's clothing is against the law. In Germany there are strict limits on the amount of formaldehyde that can be used in clothing. In the US it is up the the manufacturer.

Another tidbit - Sometimes it is written into trade agreements that certain products such as wool from South Africa must be treated with particular insecticides before they will be admitted into the US.

I had the misfortune of purchasing a bolt of fabric that was transported in pesticide containers. This I did not find out until it was too late. I know that saleswomen at up-scale stores have become ill from newly unpacked merchandise. I know women at a small dress shop who became sick unpacking merchandise to the point they stuffed everything back in the box and returned it.

I hope you take this opportunity to purchase less toxic goods - before you get sick. Believe me - your experience has been a warning. For those who do become ill (permanently and often from central nervous system poisons) no one will be held accountable.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-23-06 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. Thanks...Your IMPORTANT post...addresses my Worst Suspicions.
We all know that there are many insects that must be present in these "offshore factories" that Americans would never accept being in their clothes. Therefore "spraying" of chemicals in the factories and packing places must be VERY Important!

Living in the Southeastern US, I can imagine the horror of a boxload of clothing being delivered to the Northeaster US and a bunch of Giant Southern Cockroaches crawl out of the box when it's opened...or ants, scorpions, hissing cockroaches, spiders of deadly poison and other native insects that must be present in places where our shoes and clothing is made.

The pesticide useage may be worse than we can imagine here with "Dow and Ortho" sending all their banned US Pesticides over to the "Emerging Third World Sweat Shops" so that American don't shriek when they open their garment and many things "run out."

That's why I posted this. I'm very worried about what's coming into the USA in these clothes and shoes. What's been killed and how...and what remains as "residue."
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REP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-24-06 01:35 AM
Response to Original message
31. No; I Buy Italian or Brazilian Shoes and Cotton Clothing
Edited on Sun Sep-24-06 01:35 AM by REP
Sometimes Indian cotton fabrics smell strongly of woodsmoke, but that can washed out.
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bicentennial_baby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-24-06 01:38 AM
Response to Original message
32. Everything smells....you're sensitive
Why bother to make a point about Indian/Chinese goods? Everything artificial smells weird...
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JCMach1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-24-06 02:27 AM
Response to Original message
33. Real cotton and natural fabrics (many of which are coming from India)
have a smell. It's natural!

Rubber and plastics also smell...

While A SMALL percentage of people have dangerous sensitivities to chemicals and scents, I was absolutely happy to be free from America's scent NAZIs...

I love the natural smell of fabrics, dyes, oils and perfumes. I love the smell of natural incense and Oudh. I wear scents every day. It is an essential part of the culture.
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JCMach1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-24-06 02:28 AM
Response to Original message
34. Real cotton and natural fabrics (many of which are coming from India)
have a smell. It's natural!

Rubber and plastics also smell...

While A SMALL percentage of people have dangerous sensitivities to chemicals and scents, I was absolutely happy to be free from America's scent NAZIs...

I love the natural smell of fabrics, dyes, oils and perfumes. I love the smell of natural incense and Oudh. I wear scents every day. It is an essential part of the culture.
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KT2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-24-06 03:29 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. I really hope
you will educate yourself about what the so-called "scent Nazis" are complaining about. A little education and understanding goes a long way. More and more people will be affected by this problem.

A certain percentage of people will be genetically sensitive to scents. Another group are people who have been exposed to chemicals that have damaged the inside of their nasal passages. Where there should be tight junctions between cells, are now spaces that allow substances to penetrate the nasal passages and enter the olfactory bulb, which sits in the center of the brain. (Meggs)

For years it was thought that the blood brain barrier protects the brain from foreign substances but it has been demonstrated that certain chemicals, under certain conditions such as stress, can compromise the blood brain barrier. Foreign chemicals are allowed into the brain where they can cause damage. Repeat chemical exposures can re-inflict the damage.

Scented products often contain chemicals (a variety of aldehydes among many others) that cause the scent to last and disperse from the body. Some of those chemicals have been found to be dangerous to human health as they enter the body through the olfactory system and through the skin and into the blood. Take a look at this web site that was prepared by a nurse to educate people about what scented products really contain:
http://fpinva.org

Rather that call people scent nazis I would hope you would understand that people are just trying to survive and still participate in the world. When you use a scented product, you are doing it for the purpose of having others smell it other wise you would put it up your nose so just you can smell it. For an increasing number of people that scent is making them sick and as such they cannot participate in public life.

And - many dyes are very dangerous products. That is why textile manufacturing is considered one of the most polluting of industries. Investigate those products you have accepted at face value to be safe - many are not.
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Nikki Stone 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-24-06 03:32 PM
Response to Original message
36. Recommend. I love your "mall watch" series. I got some capri jeans from
Target in the women's section. The smell was so bad that I had to wash them before I wore them.
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