Lourdes Salvador's Column
...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.
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Broward County Sheriff Bans Fragrances in the Workplace
by Lourdes Salvador
Broward Sheriff's Office Internal Affairs Division has put a fragrance policy in place banning the use of cologne, perfume, scented body spray, after shave, or deodorant, and anything with detectable fragrance.
Detectable fragrances may be present on clothing from scented laundry products, magazines, air freshener, and candles.
If at first this policy seems to stink, we are reminded that banning scented deodorants and personal care products will not cause body odor. Fragrance doesn't kill body odor, it just adds to it in a poor attempt to cover it up.
Germs and bacteria from poor hygiene and poor diet usually cause body odor. An easy fix is taking a bath with the many effective scent free products on the market, including unscented soaps and deodorants.
Broward Sheriff's Office is not alone in their policy. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established a fragrance free policy in June of 2009. The City of Detroit and U.S. Census Bureau also have policies restricting fragrance use.
A study released last month by the Environmental Working Group and Campaign for Safe Cosmetics outlines why fragrance free is the way to be. "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."
Popular name-brand fragrances contained an average of 14 undisclosed chemicals, 66% of which have never been tested for human safety. Some of these chemicals can have severe neurological effects leading to lower IQ, sluggish thinking, balance problems, and seizures.
Because as much as 30% of the population experiences negative health effects from fragrance chemicals, workers who have direct contact with the public are advised to go fragrance free to avoid loss of customers.
In the end, no matter how you slice it, fragrances affect health and productivity. They have been linked to asthma, allergies, and chemical sensitivity. Chemicals in scents inflict health problems ranging from annoying to total debilitating.
While common sense should prevail in the work environment, more and more people are finding that there is always one worker who overuses and abuses perfume or cologne.
We all know who they are. Their fragrance announces their arrival long before they enter the building. After they leave, their scent lingers for hours causing distraction, migraines, and uncontrollable sneezing.
Studies have predicted that fragrance bans will eventually be as common and accepted as smoking bans in the indoor environment.
For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.
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