Scent-Free Buildings Guide from CCIAQB

From The Canadian Committee on Indoor Air Quality (CCIAQB) 

“This Module provides building owners and managers with information about the sources and effects of scents and fragrances. It also suggests ways to move toward scent-free buildings. The information covers scents and fragrances brought into a workplace by people wearing personal products such as perfume as well as those scents and fragrances that originate from custodial products such as washroom hand soap.”

scent-free buildings guide banner

This document is part of a series of modules forming the CCIAQB Guide for Indoor Air Quality available at For definitions and acronyms, refer to Module 1 – Introduction to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).


“The goal of the Canadian Committee on Indoor Air Quality and Buildings is to improve indoor air quality in buildings and, ultimately, the health of occupants, by providing a national forum and clearinghouse for ‘best-of-knowledge’ information on the design and operations of buildings as they affect indoor air quality.”

Example 1

Example 2 in the document is from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit

Module 6 – Scent-Free Buildings:

“Module provides building owners and managers with information about the sources and effects of scents and fragrances, and suggests ways to move toward scent-free buildings.”

This document is a compilation of “safe” material that is already available out there (or as they say: “summary compilations of existing information from many sources”). It’s good to have a simple compilation like this, and hopefully soon they will feel confident enough to update the module encouraging stronger actions and  better enforcement.

I wish the phrase “Wherever possible” that gets used in so many policies could be banished (why wouldn’t it be possible?)  and that laundry products were included in all lists of fragranced products to avoid.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) is encouraging hospital accreditation standards to include scent or fragrance free environments (see “Artificial scents have no place in our hospitals”).

I’d like to see some kind of consistent IAQ monitoring and certification be developed, to ensure healthy (fragrance and other toxic chemical free) indoor air everywhere.

As the evidence mounts regarding the adverse health effects of toxic chemicals and VOCs, many health professionals and researchers are now making public declarations urging people, especially women and children, to avoid fragranced products (among other toxic exposures), so implementing fragrance-free policies (and enforcement) everywhere is very clearly in the interest of  public health and future generations, in addition to providing access to people with environmentally related disabilities..

Ultimately it seems that responsible business and building owners, organizations, provinces, and states will have to regulate IAQ, banning indoor fragrance chemicals like they’ve banned smoking, as it seems to be beyond the capacity of any current federal government to ban the numerous toxic chemicals that are found in so many personal care, laundry, and cleaning products, as well as other everyday products and materials.

Imagine a world where we all have the right to a healthy environment, instead of the right to pollute (or be polluted). So many health problems could be prevented.

Here’s to clean and healthy air everywhere!

You can download this and other IAQ modules here:

3 responses to “Scent-Free Buildings Guide from CCIAQB

  1. Thank you for the great articles. Every time we go to a hospital or doctors office we come home sicker than when we left home. Thanks so much for tackling this huge problem.

  2. New module available:

    “The purpose of this Module is to inform building operators, managers, occupants and visitors about the complex medical condition known as chemical sensitivities, and potential role(s) that indoor air quality (IAQ) may play. The goal is to prevent the development and subsequent triggering of symptoms in susceptible individuals. The guide includes information and tools to assess, address and prevent potentially problematic indoor air contaminants. Communication is important, to accommodate individuals with chemical sensitivities.”


    Link to download the Module from:

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