Yes, the Golden Rule applies here: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
If you had an allergy or other condition that was worsened in the presence of some substance, you would want to avoid it. And it should be reasonable to ask friends, family and co-workers to help by not using it in your presence. Yet it seems that when it comes to fragrance, the Golden Rule goes out the window. Honestly, I’ve had friends, family and co-workers that thought that I just didn’t *like* fragrance. So it was really OK to wear them in my presence. Which is baffling. People so often equate an allergy with dislike, which isn’t what it’s about. If it were something I just didn’t like, I would endure it. But there are serious health issues for those sensitive to perfume.
There have been a couple of comments here recently that could be resolved with the Golden Rule. Linda left this comment on the Join the Conversation post:
I work in the Disability Services for Students Office at a college in Buffalo, NY and a faculty member down the hall wears an excessive amount of patchouli oil (2 different kinds). I am very allergic and I get temporal artery headaches, my throat swells up, etc. I went to the Administration over a year ago and I was told in writing that I was not allowed to approach this person about her smell nor was I allowed to mention the horrible smell to students in our office.
During exam week May 2008, four students were nauseous and had headaches due to her patchouli oil perfume. Since I am not allowed to approach this person, my boss has asked this person several times to give me the name of the products she is wearing. It has been a year now, and I still do not know what she is wearing. I have gone to an ear, nose and throat doctor, seen an allergist, and a neurologist and still cannot give them the name of the products she is wearing. An air purification unit was installed inside our office in May 2007 but this does nothing to address the issue of the smell outside our office.
On June 12, 2008, I left a phone message for Ann Curry Thompson to contact me. I have contacted lawyers in the Buffalo region, but no one wants to deal with fragrance issues.
I’m not really a big fan of lawsuits. I think there are far too many in this country. But, that doesn’t mean they are all bad. If you’ve got a problem at work and can get no help through your employer, then perhaps a lawsuit is the last option. If you have other ideas to help Linda, why not leave her a comment?
And this one from Sally was left on a recent Susan McBride Update post:
I too am living this nightmare. It use to be that my throat would close up and Iâ€™d get a pain in my chest like someone was sitting on it. But after months of having to have I.V. treatments with other patients who had on lotions. laundry soap etc. Even tho I was using oxygen. I moved to a new level. Now my eyes swell shut. That blew my theory of holding my breath when I moved around in public when confronted with a strong fragrance. I now must leave as quickly as I can before I swell up and canâ€™t breath. If I sit in a seat that someone with heavy fragrance has sat I must throw those clothes away. No manner of washing, vinegar,borax,will remove it.
And I donâ€™t have to smell it first to react. People donâ€™t realize it is the chemical not necessarily the odor that causes the reactions. I am now isolated in a room by myself because even the doctors were horrified by my face. Yet still I react because it gets in the air system. I have been told by the place Iâ€™ve lived for 10 years that the canâ€™t handle people like me. and have refused to renew my lease. A clear disability violation. Yet I can get no lawyer to handle my case, even tho I have several doctors who will confirm this. I live in florida if anyone can help me.
Please post a comment. I am battling mycroplasma pneumonia which makes my reaction to fragrance and chemicals even more severe.
The added stress of trying to find a â€œNewâ€ place that has not been smoked in, had fragrance etc. Is tremendous. Please post comments. thank you.
It really saddens me to read about Sally’s issues. Perhaps a lawyer is her best option too. I’ve read that Ann Curry Thompson has taken cases all across the country.
Have you encountered similar problems? What tips do you have for Sally and Linda? Leave a comment here.