Daily Archives: May 13, 2012

Air Quality and Accessibility in Health Care; Why Aren’t All Health Care Providers Fragrance-Free?

Can you smoke in a hospital or doctor’s office? No. Why not? Because smoke adversely impacts air quality and our health (despite what the tobacco industry has tried to claim).

So why then are fragrance chemicals still allowed in these environments?

One would think that with so much information about how harmful most fragranced items are, and how easy it is to find fragrance free substitutes, that the health care profession would be the first to embrace fragrance-free, low to no VOC indoor environments for both themselves and all the sick and vulnerable people they serve. This includes children, people with asthma, autism, heart and respiratory diseases, migraines, chemical and environmental “sensitivities”, and others who are prone to having symptoms greatly exacerbated by fragrance chemicals and poor indoor air quality.

We know some fragrance ingredients cause cancer. We know some are endocrine disruptors. Some are even neuro-toxic.  Fragrance chemicals trigger asthma, allergies, migraines, and mild to life threatening symptoms in people. Some of the chemicals have been linked to early puberty in girls, reduced sperm counts in men, reproductive defects in the developing male fetus (when the mother is exposed during pregnancy),  and hormone disruption which leads to some cancers, thyroid disease, obesity, and diabetes. There is also evidence suggesting that exposure to one of the ingredients that make fragrances last longer and stick to everything may cause liver and kidney failure in young children. What more are we waiting for?

Graphics by Roslyn Rodgers, health effects text by Linda Sepp.

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