Kate Grenville had always associated perfume with elegance and beauty. Then the headaches started.
Like perhaps a quarter of the population, Grenville reacts badly to the artificial fragrances around us: other people’s perfumes, and all those scented cosmetics, cleaning products and air fresheners. On a book tour in 2015, dogged by ill health, she started wondering: what’s in fragrance? Who tests it for safety? What does it do to people?
The more Grenville investigated, the more she felt this was a story that should be told. The chemicals in fragrance can be linked not only to short-term problems like headaches and asthma, but to long-term ones like hormone disruption and cancer. Yet products can be released onto the market without testing. They’re regulated only by the same people who make and sell them. And the ingredients don’t even have to be named on the label.
This book is based on careful research into the science of scent and the power of the fragrance industry. But, as you’d expect from an acclaimed novelist, it’s also accessible and personal. The Case Against Fragrance will make you see - and smell - the world differently.
Review by Ilse Scheepers
If you've never caught a gust of perfume or cologne from a fellow commuter and been struck with a blinding headache or instantly congested nose, you're lucky indeed. Grenville is one of the quarter of the population who experience these sort of adverse effects when they come into contact with fragrance, and she has embarked on a mission to investigate the use and abuse of synthetic chemicals in perfume, shampoo, soap, detergent and even garbage bags.
Combining personal accounts with the science of scent, Grenville builds a careful - and fragrance free - case for closer examination into the use and regulation of the world of perfume and scent.
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Fantastic read and research . So overdue . I loved it felt vindicated for my observations and complaints for many years about the obsession for artificially perfumed products . Now you have air fresheners every where you go WHY.???? It is an assault on your senses.
I read this book with great enthusiasm . As l have multiple chemical sensitivity, particularly to chemical fragrance l am so happy that a book has been written to educate the public. Those who do not react physically to fragrance have no idea what it is like to live in this chemically fragranced world. The book explains the harm it does to humans as well as the environment. Thankyou to Kate Grenville for sharing your experiences and doing the research. I have advised our local bookshop to get the book as well as our public library.
"I hadn't realised just how hard it was to avoid fragrance in one form or another. But I learned cunning. I sprinted through the scented foyers of hotels with a scarf over my nose. In cabs I sat in the back, asked the driver to remove the fragrance diffuser, opened the window and stuck my head into the slipstream like a dog, arriving bedraggled and windblown"
The Case Against Fragrance is the second non-fiction book by award-winning Australian novelist, Kate Grenville. It came about when she realised it was fragrance that was the cause of her headaches and discovered the dearth of objective information available about sensitivities to fragrance. You may think you don't use very much fragrance, but you are probably unaware of just how insidiously your fragrance load accumulates.
Your own personal load, unless you are using fragrance-free products, will go something like this: you wake from sleeping between sheets washed in fragranced laundry detergent; you shower with fragranced soap or gel, use fragranced shampoo and conditioner; you rub fragranced lotion into your skin, use fragranced hair products, put on deodorant, all that before you even reach for the spray bottle of scent that will be your intentional use of fragrance for that day.
You wear clothes washed in fragranced laundry detergent; you might have an air freshener in the loo, and your loo paper might be fragranced too; your dishwashing detergent probably smells of lemon; your cosmetics may well be fragranced. Then you walk out the door: does your car have a deodoriser? Or maybe the taxi has a diffuser going; or you sit next to someone on the bus who's just refreshed their perfume, so you get to share that. Are there fragrance diffusers going in your workplace? Are the cleaning products they use fragranced?
So what? you say. Because you might be one of the many lucky ones who is apparently not adversely affected by fragrance. But you might just be inflicting your fragrance load on someone who is sensit
'One spritz of aftershave or perfume can leave other people retching and clutching their heads-you never see that in the ads.' Kaz Cooke 'Beginning with her own physical reaction to fragrance that begins with a headache a lot of us know ourselves, she investigates the fragrance industry and its side-effects and interweaves these facts with the personal to create an accessible work of non-fiction.' ArtsHub 'By 2015, Grenville was getting headaches from those stinky diffusers in taxis, from washing powder, from scented candles, and was sprinting through hotel foyers with a scarf over her nose. But instead of going mad, Grenville did what she does best: fixed her intelligent and discerning eye on the problem. This reader started out sceptical and ended up convinced: we have hardly any idea what goes into the manufactured smells we surround ourselves with. Read this, and gasp.' Courier Mail 'Fact-dense and extensively referenced, the book is a delight to read and never gets bogged down...While some of the science has been simplified, the book generally conveys the sense of it correctly...Well developed and thoughtful. Read The Case Against Fragrance and you will never think about fragrance in the same way again. If you have been suffering fragrance in silence, you will know you are not alone.' Conversation 'In this appealingly written exploration, Kate uncovers the dark side of the fragrance industry, from the carcinogens in after-shave to the hormone disruptors in perfume that mimic oestrogen.' Child 'An insightful and frightening book.' Readings 'Readable, interesting and informative.' Big Book Club 'Grenville expresses hope though that our society will find solutions to the fragrant violation of personal space based on courtesy and civility rather than on regulation and policy.' Australian Book Review
Number Of Pages: 208
Published: 30th January 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing Co
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.4 x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.28