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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


Fact Sheet - Job Accommodations for People with Respiratory Impairment



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


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.






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



Some additional links with quality information on fragrance sensitivity:


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


Fragrance chemical allergy: a major environmental and consumer health problem


Pollution & air quality - Indoor air quality - Scents




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


Copyrighted 2009 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America



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