Lourdes Salvador's Column
...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.
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Ambient Scenting and Scent Branding as Forced Drugging
by Lourdes Salvador
Ambient scenting is a method of scent branding in the form of adding scent directly to Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning systems (HVAC) so that it disperses throughout airspace. The most common form of ambient scenting that has been touted for odor elimination and is familiar to most people is the use of air freshener.
Now, the fragrance industry has marketed scent branding for use in businesses and apartment buildings, claiming certain scents improve mood and productivity at home and work, and even increase business in retail establishments by changing consumer behavior. The intent is usually to make consumers vulnerable to marketing communications.
Hotels have been encouraged by the industry to brand scents to trigger positive memories which they are told will make guests return and stay longer. Casino managers have been led believes that certain scents induce relaxation and drinking, both of which increase the likelihood that gamblers will stay longer and spend more.
Recent examples of the use the ambient scenting for mood altering purposes have made the news. New York magazine declared Scent Company Plans to Perfume Entire South Bronx Low-Income Building to Make It Happy. Bloomberg Businessweek announced Scent Branding Sweeps the Fragrance Industry. The New York Daily News has even spun an article attempting to market scent branding as ´green´ in, Green Guru Majora Carter Plans To Pump New Perfume Into Hunts Point Apartment Building.
Scents which are powerful enough to influence mood and customer purchases, however, affect brain function in the same way as an inhaled mind-altering psychoactive drug.
Scents as Mind Altering Drugs
A drug is defined as a chemical substance that affects the processes of the mind or body. A mind-altering drug is one that produces an altered state of consciousness.5 A psychoactive drug is a chemical that "alters brain function, resulting in temporary changes in perception, mood, consciousness, or behavior."
Such drugs are often used in medicine for treating neurological and psychological illnesses. Many are toxic, addictive, and/or brain and body destroying substances which produce unpleasant and sometimes life threatening side effects. These effects, including psychosis, stroke, heart attack, and suicidal ideations, are evidenced by the Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS), a computerized information database by the Food and Drug Administration used for surveillance of approved drugs.-
The synthetic chemicals which scents are made up of are claimed by the fragrance industry to alter mood and worker/consumer behaviors. Chemicals powerful enough to alter brain function and cause changes in perception, mood, consciousness, or behavior act in the same way as a psychoactive drug. Hence, these scents may have adverse effects and should require a medical exam and prescription from a licensed medical doctor prior to dispensing.
Fragrances are made up of any number of over 5,000 different chemicals. Common ingredients found in fragrances include acetone (a central nervous system depressant registered as hazardous waste by the Environmental Protection Agency), ethanol (known to cause drowsiness and damage to the central nervous system, registered as hazardous waste by the Environmental Protection Agency), linalool (a narcotic linked to central nervous system disorders), and a-terpineol (excitotoxic and central nervous system depressant).
Fragrance ingredients are protected by trade secret law and, therefore, undisclosed on the label. A recent study found that, "the average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label. Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products Also in the ranks of undisclosed ingredients are chemicals with troubling hazardous properties or with a propensity to accumulate in human tissues. These include diethyl phthalate, a chemical found in 97 percent of Americans and linked to sperm damage in human epidemiological studies, and musk ketone, a synthetic fragrance ingredient that concentrates in human fat tissue and breast milk."
Upon realizing that scents are inhaled mind and body altering drugs, it's not difficult to understand why ambient scenting is so effective or why some people have negative health reactions to scents.
Forced Drugging & Citizen Rights
The government consistently wages wars against the use of illicit psychoactive drugs by citizens. However, fragrance is a double standard that has slipped through without regulation. The fundamental difference between illicit drugs and fragrance is that illicit drugs are taken by users for the purpose of recreation with full will and knowledge. While fragrances are being imposed upon others in public places, often against will and even without knowledge in the case of subtle scent branding.
Exposing people to the psychoactive substances in fragrances for the purpose of changing mood and behavior against will, without knowledge, and without informed consent is the equivalent of forced drugging. Forced drugging of the public for the purpose of altering mood, thoughts, and behaviors is a violation of an individual´s fundamental right to freedom of thought.
A great danger exists by chemically inducing changes in mood and behavior in a group of unsuspecting people. Factors which must be considered include the state of an individual's brain, mental and physical health, and other medications. The effects of ambient scenting may not be those desired, but rather adverse. Besides the potential to induce erratic behavior, there are many health effects.
Over 30% of the population experience ambient scent as an irritant. Fragrances are well known to adversely impact those with asthma, allergies, and chemical sensitivities.,
A new report reviewed 37 scientific studies and discovered many health concerns regarding fragrances.
"Fragranced consumer products have been associated with a range of health effects that include headaches, chest tightness and wheezing, infant diarrhea and vomiting, mucosal irritation, reduced pulmonary function, asthma and asthmatic exacerbations, rhinitis and airway irritation, sense organ irritation, and epidermal effects such as contact dermatitis," say Stanley M. Caress, PhD and Anne C. Steinemann, PhD, "While the emphasis of prior work has been on epidermal exposure effects, consistent with intentional use of products, other exposure routes such as inhalation can be of concern for unintentional and public exposures to fragranced products."
Unintentional is one thing ambient scenting is not. Ambient scents are quite purposely and selectively chosen for their properties and impact on mood and thinking. In order to have this impact, scents must affect neurotransmitter balance and essentially alter normal central nervous system and brain function.
Ambient scenting is a method of drugging people without their consent in public places and apartment buildings. This practice is intended to alter mood and decision making capacity without a license to practice medicine. It is a clear Orwellian human rights violation.
There is nothing more sacred to an individual than the necessity of a clear mind and body. No one should be forced to wear a respirator in order to protect this most prized possession while engaging in ordinary acts of living. Work places, schools, homes, and businesses should be free of the mind altering drugs, including ambient scent!
The brain is our central command and encompasses who we are, our personality, and our ability to function in a way that is essential for each of us.
Unregulated substances that affect this central command can produce regretful consequences by interfering with the ability to function by our own will as nature intended. No one has a right to impair another´s brain function!
For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.
Copyrighted 2010 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America