Sometimes when you attend church, visit patients in hospitals or nursing homes, and go to schools or other institutions, you are confronted with signs asking you to be scent-free. 1. Why the concern with scented products? In todays population, there are increasing numbers of people for whom fragrances cause health problems; scented products adversely affect those with allergies, asthma, migraines, and chemical sensitivities. Whether a person is fragrance sensitive or not, fragrances add to indoor air pollution. Common triggers that cause reactions in sensitive people are cologne, perfume, scented body sprays, scented hair spray/gel/mousse and other leave-in hair products, lotions, scented powder, after-shave, richly scented deodorants/anti-perspirant, air fresheners, bathroom deodorizers, potpourri, and many products currently used for laundry, cleaning, floors, carpets, walls and other surfaces. People who are sensitive to scented products depend on being in an environment free of chemicals so they can maintain their ability to function. The wearer of scented products may not smell the scents we and others are emitting until he/she becomes hypersensitive. Even if you didn't put on perfume today, your clothes may still carry the residue. The chemicals used to make scent volatile are petroleum based (petrochemicals); perfume manufacturers altered the lasting quality of scent after WWII so that you wouldn't have to apply scent more than once a day to carry it with you all day. Thus the wearers clothing gets saturated, and with poor air quality in tightly closed buildings, our bodies absorb these chemicals. What are the symptoms of exposure? Symptoms include headaches, asthma and other breathing problems, vision problems, increased sensitivity to odors, bloating and other intestinal problems, short- and long-term memory loss, flu-like symptoms, dizziness, mental confusion, fatigue, depression and chronic exhaustion. Persons with chemical sensitivities often have symptoms from exposure to chemicals at concentrations far below the levels tolerated by most people. Although floor waxes, cleaners, pesticides and perfumes can cause discomfort to people who are not chemically sensitive; such discomfort is usually of short duration and does not present a serious threat to that person's health. However, a person with asthma, respiratory problems or Multiple Chemical Sensitivities can be distressed for days or weeks as a result of exposure to even a small amount of the same substance. 3. Isn't wearing scent a personal thing? Scented products are, by their very nature, shared, hence not "personal". Most people on a daily basis use soap, shampoo, deodorant, laundry products, hair spray, lotions, cosmetics and fragrances - a wide variety of products contain volatile organic compounds (VOC's). Fragrance products by nature are volatile. So everywhere someone goes they leave a little bit of their fragrance products behind. 4. What can you do about this? In response to complaints, many manufacturers are now removing fragrance from products and touting "fragrance free" and "unscented" versions of products such as laundry detergent and fabric softeners. Beware that an "unscented" product may still create problems as masking chemicals to cover the scent of other chemicals may have been added to the product. There are safe, tested products available the Allergy and Environmental Health Association and the Nova Scotia Environmental Health Centre list the following as recommended personal care products. 2.

Some alternative products available are: Household Cleaning & Laundry Products NatureClean products Baking soda Borax DownEast Homecare products Tri-clean Laundry Discs Vinegar Body and Face Lotions/Creams Lubriderm Unscented Alamy Marcelle Clinique Galxal Base Kerri Unscented Oil of Olay Unscented Soaps Neutrogena Unscented Simple Soap Phisoderm Unscented Tom's of Maine

Hair Care Marcelle NatureClean Glycerin soap Clinique Pure Essentials Simple Shampoo & Conditioner Unicare Conditioner Dr. Bonner Unscented Deodorants Crystal Rock Ton's of Maine Marcelle Baking Soda

Shaving Products Electric razor Aveeno Shaving Cream Clinique Simple Shaving Cream Kiss My Face

The use of such products should reduce the physical discomfort of people suffering from scent and chemical sensitivities. In short, scented products contain chemicals that cause serious problems for many people. Most fragrance chemicals are respiratory irritants; they are known triggers for asthma, allergies and migraines. Even for those without significant pre-existing health problems, they can cause irritation of the upper airways, eye symptoms and general malaise. If you can smell a cosmetic before you apply it, consider not putting it on out of respect for others who share the air.

Information researched by Linda Giddins using the Internet. Some sites that nay be of interest: http://ww1.netcom/~bcb56/IndoorAir.htm

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