Harm Reduction Policy for People With Autism

Recent research that Anne Steinemann conducted in  three countries (United States, Australia, and the UK), found that 83.7% autistic adults reported adverse health effects from exposures to  fragranced products, effects such as:

migraine headaches (42.9%),
neurological problems (34.3%),
respiratory problems (44.7%), and
asthma attacks (35.9%)

In particular,
62.9% of autistic adults report health problems from air fresheners or deodorizers,
57.5% from the scent of laundry products coming from a dryer vent,
65.9% from being in a room cleaned with scented products, and
60.5% from being near someone wearing a fragranced product.

Health problems can be severe, with 74.1% of these effects considered potentially disabling under legislation in each country. Further, 59.4% of autistic adults have lost workdays or lost a job, in the past year, due to fragranced product exposure in the workplace.

Results show that vulnerable individuals, such as those with autism or autism spectrum disorders, can be profoundly, adversely, and disproportionately affected by exposure to fragranced consumer products.

Results also accentuate a relatively straightforward way to reduce adverse health, economic, and societal effects for autistic individuals, as well as non-autistic individuals, by reducing use and exposure to common fragranced consumer products.

Fragrance-free policies receive a strong majority of support among both autistic and non-autistic adults.”

In other words, workplaces, health care providers, retail outlets, housing providers, libraries, educational spaces, etc need to enact and enforce  fragrance-free policies in order to be accessible and to reduce harm.

Note that this research was done with verbal adults. Children, especially non-verbal kids,  have no voice or say when there are fragranced products that are adversely affecting their ability to think or function to the best of their abilities.

There are many people who aren’t aware that these products are causing harm, until they remove them for a month, and find it was so worth the effort to do so!

The solution is simple! Create and enforce a fragrance-free policy!

This space is an accessible space where harm reduction is paramount.
Be fragrance-free to enter!
If you haven’t read the labels, you’re not fragrance-free.
Thank you!



Read the full research article:

Fragranced consumer products: effects on autistic adults in the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom



See the Fragrance-free Checklist for insights on what fragrance-free means.


Be fragrance-free. It’s good for you. It’s good for me.

2 responses to “Harm Reduction Policy for People With Autism

  1. Pingback: Fragranced consumer products: effects on autistic adults in the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom – Disability Cosmos Daily

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