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Banning Fragrances in the Workplace

 

 

 

 

MCS America

Lourdes Salvador's Column

...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lourdes Salvador volunteers as a writer and social advocate for the recognition of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). She was a passionate advocate for the homeless and worked with her local governor to provide services to the homeless through a new approach she created to end homelessness. That passion soon turned to advocacy and activism for people with MCS and the medical professionals who serve them. She co-founded MCS Awareness in 2005 and went on to found MCS America in 2006. She serves as a partner for Environmental Education Week, a partner for the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE), and a supporter for the American Cancer Society: Campaign for Smokefree Air.

 

For more information visit MCS America

 

 

 

Monday, September 7th, 2009:

 

Q&A Banning Fragrances in the Workplace

 

by Lourdes Salvador

 

 

Q: I have a co-worker who applies expensive perfume at work and it fills the whole office and makes me ill. I´ve provided a doctor´s letter to my supervisor and asked the woman to stop, but they both think my complaint is petty and won´t do anything. What can I do?

 

 

A: A ban of all fragrances in the workplace would be best for everyone. Work isn't a popularity contest and people have a right to breathe and be healthy. Fragrances are a totally unnecessary addition to dressing in the workplace. If someone has an odor issue, they need to bathe rather than add scent to their existing odor.

 

Fragrance sensitivity is a disability which may be accommodated under the Americans with Disabilities Act. See:

 

JAN Accommodation and Compliance Series - Employees with Fragrance Sensitivity

 

http://www.jan.wvu.edu/media/Fragrance.pdf

 

Fact Sheet - Job Accommodations for People with Respiratory Impairment

 

http://www.jan.wvu.edu/media/employmentrespfact.doc

 

 

For additional information on chemical sensitivities and general accommodations under the law, see:

 

http://www.mcs-america.org/index_files/Accommodations.htm

 

You mentioned the perfume was an expensive perfume. The cost of a perfume does not impact its acceptable use in the workplace. All synthetic fragrances contain dangerous chemicals which are not revealed on the label, between 3,000 - 5,000 of them... 80% of which have not been tested for human safety.

 

Fragrance sensitivity to scents worn by others affects more than 30% of the population according to researchers.

 

See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19326669

 

 

 

For more information on the chemical composition and health effects of fragrances see:

 

http://www.massnurses.org/health-and-safety/articles/chemical-exposures/p/openItem/1346

 

 

Some additional links with quality information on fragrance sensitivity:

 

AAOHN: Synthetic Fragrances Pose Health Risk to 20 Percent of Workers

 

http://ohsonline.com/articles/2008/09/aaohn-synthetic-fragrances-pose-health-risk-to-20-percent-of-workers.aspx

 

Fragrance chemical allergy: a major environmental and consumer health problem

 

http://ec.europa.eu/research/environment/pdf/env_health_projects/chemicals/c-fragrance.pdf

 

Pollution & air quality - Indoor air quality - Scents

 

http://www.lung.ca/protect-protegez/pollution-pollution/indoor-interieur/scents-parfums_e.php

 

 

 

For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.

 

Copyrighted 2009 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America

 

 

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