How to Enforce a Fragrance-Free Policy

How to Enforce a Fragrance-Free Policy

“Make it clear that the policy applies to everyone”

effective enforcement


Fragranced consumer products: exposures and effects from emissions

“Overall, 34.7 % of the population reported one or more types of adverse health effects from exposure to one or more types of fragranced products.”

“72.6 % were not aware that even so-called natural, green, and organic fragranced products typically emit hazardous air pollutants.”

“20.2 % of the population reported that if they enter a business, and smell air fresheners or some fragranced product, they want to leave as quickly as possible.”

“Significantly, 15.1 % of the general population reported that exposure to fragranced products in their work environment has caused them to become sick, lose workdays, or lose a job.”


Health and societal effects from exposure to fragranced consumer products (AU)

…”Finally, for public officials, the problem of “secondhand scents,” or indirect exposure to fragranced products, has parallels to secondhand tobacco smoke. Prevention from fragrance product exposure will enable individuals to work in their workplaces, attend school, and function in society without suffering involuntary harm.” …


More Resources:


Here’s an example of how a health-harm-reduction policy could be written and enforced (once they add laundry products and essential oils to the list):

Scent-free Environment

All persons who work in, attend as patients of, or visit Kingston General Hospital, have an obligation to help maintain a scent-free environment.


“All staff, patients, and visitors will:

Refrain from wearing cologne, perfume, scented personal care products such as body lotions, sprays, and powders, scented deodorant and hair care products, and aftershave lotions (add , laundry products, and essential oils); avoid bringing in scented flowers including but not limited to: Freesias, Lilacs, lavenders, lilies (including day, tiger, Easter Lilies, lily of the valley, and star gazers), Hyacinth and Peonies; refrain from bringing scented air fresheners or personal hand lotions from home.

Fragrance –free hand lotions are available at the hospital.

Staff will advise all persons entering the hospital about the scent-free policy and educate all persons entering the facility about the health effects of scented products.

Patients who are wearing scented products may be asked to wash and/or change their clothing.

Visitors who wear scented products will be asked to leave.

Security will be involved as needed.

Staff who are wearing scented products may be asked to leave the area, wash, and/or change their clothing.

Staff who show disregard for the scent-free policy will face appropriate disciplinary action.

Suppliers will be notified of our policy and our mandate to purchase scent free products wherever possible.

The public will be advised of our policy through the media, and other venues such as appointment requisitions, and scent free signage posted throughout the hospital.”


Help for How to Be Fragrance-Free

Accommodation Ideas for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or Environmental Illness

CDC Indoor Environmental Policy protects those with chemical sensitivities

Canadian Human Rights Commission Policy on Environmental Sensitivities

Ontario Policy on ableism and discrimination based on disability



The National Council on Independent Living has developed the following statement on the importance of attending events fragrance-free in order to ensure accessibility for all attendees:

Fragrance can be an access barrier!

To help make this conference accessible to participants for whom chemicals or fragrances are an access barrier, NCIL requests that you come fragrance-free. Please refrain from wearing any scented products or washing with them. This includes clothing that has been laundered with fragranced detergent or fabric softening products. Additionally, please completely air out any dry-cleaned clothing before wearing it to the conference. Read more information about how and why to be fragrance free.

Smoke can be an access barrier!

It is also essential that we maintain a smoke-free environment. If you smoke, please use the designated smoking area located outside the conference center. Please refrain from smoking near any other doorways or paths of travel. …

Cell phones can be an access barrier!

Please turn off cell phones at all conference events and when requested.

Fragrance Fact Sheet
from The Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment (CPCHE)

Some Previous Related Posts

Fragrance-Free Door Signs

Public Health Warning: Fragrance

Accessible Meetings Guide Addresses Chemical and Electrical Sensitivities

Toxic Chemicals in Air “Fresheners” and Health Effects

Toxic chemicals in everyday laundry products!?!

CCOHS Scent Free Zone

How to Enforce a Fragrance-Free Policy

– Remind all visitors that there is a fragrance-free policy in effect
– Mention it in all calls, correspondence and web pages

– Educate them where fragrances are found and how to avoid them

– Send people away or ask them to put on a tyvek (or similar) suit
if they arrive with ANY noticable fragrance residues

* Charge  $10 for the suit *

(or whatever it costs to keep them on hand)


While a fragrance-free environment is healthier for everyone and sufficient for most,  we might also need to include protection from  3rd hand smoke and other chemical residues in places where “sensitive” populations frequent.

TYVEK suitstylin in tyvek


So the chemical industry still profits when people have to buy their haz mat suits to protect other people from all their other products…

What a world!

Let’s make it healthy for all beings to exist!

8 responses to “How to Enforce a Fragrance-Free Policy

  1. Love the tyvek suit. That is the ONLY way anyone comes into my home.

  2. I agree. Brilliant idea!

  3. Whitefeather --

    Thank you so much for all the information you have given to help explain what fragrances can do to us and how to make a free fragrance area, Also bringing awareness that there are thousands of people who are effected by fragrances. There are times when I have been at church and am hugged by someone who is wearing scents and I have headaches for several days after that. One time it 2 weeks for my body to clear from the exposure.

    • Most people are adversely affected by these products, some of us just feel the effects before others do!

      “Overall, 34.7 % of the population reported one or more types of adverse health effects from exposure to one or more types of fragranced products. The most common types of adverse effects were as follows:

      18.6 % respiratory problems; 16.2 % mucosal symptoms; 15.7 % migraine headaches; 10.6 % skin problems; 8.0 % asthma attacks; 7.2 % neurological problems; 5.8 % cognitive problems; 5.5 % gastrointestinal problems; 4.4 % cardiovascular problems; 4.0 % immune system problems; 3.8 % musculoskeletal problems; and 1.7 % other.”

  4. New (2019) from Anne Steinemann

    Ten questions concerning fragrance-free policies and indoor environments

    “This paper presents and answers ten questions to explore fragrance-free policies within indoor built environments. Using a set of 60 fragrance-free policies, it analyzes who, what, where, when, why, and how policies are implemented. It then examines potential benefits of fragrance-free policies, such as avoided costs from illness and lost workdays, as well as challenges. The paper concludes with guidance and research directions for the future.”

  5. I am begging for help my mom has copd lung disease i have been trying to find a way to try to ask or pass policy so workers would stop wearing perfume and cologne strong scent lotion and hair spray employees don’t have no consideration for patience why would u wear stuff like that working in pulmonary unit employees need to have policy for it how can I enforcement it

    • Where are you located?

      There are different laws and policies that can be used in Canada or the US.

      Unfortunately it’s too often not simple…

      Start with Patient Services or the highest ranking person and present them with an official request along with info on why fragrance-use is harmful.

      Organizing more people in your area to make similar requests is also helpful.

      Some of the newer posts on this site have a lot of more recent resources you can use to make your case.

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