Category Archives: fragrance

A Cry For Help

I received the following email last night – actually @ 2:11AM South Texas time. The author, who shall remain nameless, found my other site – Fragrance Free World – by searching on the phrase “fragrance and adhd” at Yahoo! It is most definitely a cry for help:

I’m a special education teacher with Seattle Public School District. One of my students wears hairspray and baby gel. I have had a strong reaction to both products. The ADHD kids in my classroom can’t stand the smell that this students gives off. The school district told me to submit a 504 because of my asthmatic reaction to this child. The Human Resources told me that I would have to take a medical leave of absent. They also told me that the child had a perfect right to wear the strong smelling products – no questions asked. The hell with the rest of us. I refuse to take a medical leave of absent. I need the name of a really good lawyer. Can you help me out here???? Thanks.

First, I have to say that I’ve had a theory for a long time that ADHD is caused by fragrances and other VOCs in our modern environment.

But this letter makes a good point. The right of a person to wear fragranced products should end where the breathing space of other people begins. It’s the same issue as smoking, when you get right down to it. Sadly, until the American Public really wakes up to this fact, there will be problems. It doesn’t help that the FDA doesn’t do anything about it. Probably too many contributions from the fragrance industry.

But, I digress. Let’s get back to the emailer’s problem. I don’t know from the email whether anyone has talked w/ the student wearing strongly fragranced products. It might be an idea. Although I know how defensive people can get.

But the author is correct. They shouldn’t have to take a leave of absence because of the inconsiderate behavior of a student. Sadly, the lawsuit option, or even the threat of one backed by a lawyer, might be an option.

Finding said lawyer could be difficult. The reaction of most people to this type of issue is often a roadblock. People don’t want to believe that someone could be allergic to fragrances or have health issues because of them. Probably b/c they don’t want to give up their own fragrances?

So, I know that in the past I’ve had readers who went the lawyer route. Is there anyone out there who can provide information on how you found a lawyer? If you have website links, or even searches you’ve done. Please leave a comment. Or if you have other information that could help this person – leave a comment.


Cold Weather And Holidays

If you’re someone who still likes to wear fragrance, something you could do to help those with fragrance issues is to consider wearing less fragrance during cold weather. Our houses and buildings are more closed up with cold weather so fragrances will be more concentrated. Try to go a little lighter.

Also true for holidays. Perhaps you like to wear fragrance for holidays and special occasions? Consider not doing it though. It will be a help to a lot of other people.

Quick Fix To Get Rid of Fragrance

This seems simple, and perhaps most of you have heard this. But it bears telling. We’ve found that a quick way to rid something of fragrance – such as clothing or pillows – is to give it fresh air and sunshine. The sunshine probably does the most good to get rid of the odors. Of course, this assumes there’s not any air pollution. Generally, a few hours in the sun will take care of many fragrance odors.

Fragrances, Respiratory Problems and COPD

Will being fragrance free help if you have COPD, asthma or other respiratory problems?

Yes, it will. Even avoiding ‘natural fragrances’ or essential oils will help. Here’s why:

Anything ‘extra’ that is put into the air will be taken in each time you breathe. When you smell a fragrance, it is because you inhaled it. It’s the same as if you inhaled smoke or ashes. Or the coal dust that miners inhale. You breathe it in, it gets into your lungs and can clog your airways. If your system is already compromised, it will make it worse.

My husband says that I am the best thing to happen to his asthma. (Before me, he dated a woman who bathed in fragrances.) In the 14 years we’ve been together, his asthma has been well controlled. Why? Because I don’t allow fragrances into my home.

If you have COPD, asthma or another respiratory problem, I invite you to take the Fragrance Free Thirty Day Challenge. It could be the best thing to happen to your health issue too!

Dear Oprah Winfrey

Well, I haven’t sent this yet, but I plan to:

Dear Oprah,

The strangest thing happened to me at the dentist’s office last week. In the waiting room I found the September Issue of your magazine 0 – The Oprah Magazine. Seriously, the September 2007 issue, in a dentist office on August 13, 2007. Thought there was a law requiring magazines in office waiting rooms to be at least 2 years out of date. 😉

On the front cover there was a headline that caught my eye “Do What You Love!” I flipped through to find the article. I realized I wanted to read it, but it was time for my appointment. So, on the way home I stopped to buy a copy.

It was a strange feeling wandering through the women’s mag. section of the bookstore. I used to visit it quite a bit, but rarely get there any more. Couldn’t recall why.

I found and bought your magazine. As soon as I got it home I remembered why I don’t get to that section of the bookstore anymore. It literally reeked of perfume. There were 2 ads for perfume in there. I don’t recall which ones and I wouldn’t put them up on my blog if I did. The samples were semi-sort of sealed, but not really. I really thought they had passed a law requiring them to be sealed, but I guess not.

Because of MCS, I live in a fragrance free world – at least at home. The smallest amount of fragrance will trigger a headache, at best, and at worst a killer migraine that lasts for hours or days.

So, I put the mag. in the sun for a couple of hours. Then I just let it sit for a few days. On Thursday, I flipped through while riding my stationary bike. It still reeked. No change from Monday. So, I tore out the pages I was interested in and put the rest of the mag. in the recycle bin – outside. And today, nearly a week later, those few pages still reek.

I did have to laugh at one point while looking at the magazine. There was actually a small plug for It talked about green laundry techniques. I noticed it was carefully worded though. It mentioned solvents and pollutants but it stopped short of talking about any of the fragrances (aka solvents and pollutants) in your average laundry detergent. Probably has something to do with your agreement with the perfume industry, you think?

I love your television show, when I can watch it. I love what you do for people. I especially love your book club, for the simple fact that it has gotten more people to read. I even liked your magazine. But I won’t be buying it again.

Maybe one day the world will realize that we are poisoning ourselves with those chemicals. Now that would be a better world!

And I still don’t know if it was worth the cost of the magazine since I still can’t be near it long enough to read the article. Maybe I’ll ask my hubby to scan it and I can read that…

Fragrance Free Signs

Many times, I’ve found that someone found this blog because they were searching on “Fragrance Free Sign” or “Perfume Free Sign”. I’m happy to announce that now you can find those here! I’ve created a button, magnet or poster through CafePress. Click on on of the images below to go to my shop.

A button – I’m Fragrance Free. Please help keep my that way!

I'm Fragrance Free Button

A magnet – I’m Fragrance Free. Please help keep my that way!

I'm Fragrance Free Button

Or a Poster
Fragrance Free Zone Poster

Here’s the Text of the Poster:

Fragrance Free Zone

In consideration of those who are sensitive to the chemicals in fragrances, this area has been declared a Fragrance Free Zone.

Please refrain from wearing perfumes and colognes in this area. Also, no air fresheners.

The chemicals in these products can affect anyone at anytime causing incapacitating and even disabling illness. Who can be affected by these chemicals?
* People with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)
* People with migraines
* People with Asthma
* Developing Children – Before and After Birth
* People with COPD or other breathing disorders
* People with Emphysema
* People with Autoimmune Disorders (MS, Lupus, and others)
* People with Allergies and Sinus Headaches
* People with frequent colds or respiratory infections
* People with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ADHD
* Formerly Healthy People who’ve been exposed to too many chemicals
* Even YOU!

Want more information?

My plan was to make several posters in different colors, but there’s a limit to what you can do with a basic shop.

If you like them, please let me know. I’ll be designing more products soon.

The Cost Of Fragrances

No, I’m not talking about the price of your favorite perfume and cologne. I have absolutely no information on that subject.

What I’m talking about is the hidden costs that you may not have thought about.

Let’s look Susan McBride’s Lawsuit. One of the suggestions that senseless, ignorant, anonymous people on the web had for her was for her to quit her job. Suggesting she had no business in the workplace with her problems. So what happens to those who just quit working?

There are a couple of options. First, one that I’m even considering for myself, is to go on disability. As in through the SSA. Sure, sounds like an okay option, right? But guess what? The taxes that you and I pay are what funds this type of program.

Another option, out of desperation, would be Welfare. Another government program. And even though the government pays Welfare recipients; we, as taxpayers, provide the money that the government uses.

Other costs can include time off for illness. You help pay for that if the person out sick is a government employee. And likewise for their medical appointments, prescriptions, etc.

And even if the person is not a government employee, you’ll wind up paying in higher insurance premiums.

Another area where you help pay are those who get a military disability discharge because of their health problems caused by fragrances. Yep, the taxpayers pay that too.

So, when someone insists that they have a right to wear fragrances and use “air fresheners” and then complains about the taxes they pay; you may want to inform them that there’s a relation between these two.

Woman Sues To Ban Perfume At Work

This could be a boon to those of us who are highly sensitive to fragrances. Susan McBride works for the City of Detroit and is suing to have her co-workers banned from wearing perfume at work. Seems the perfumes cause her severe headaches, nausea and coughing fits. She is citing disability laws – which is correct. Frankly, there are so many business in violation of disability laws for the same reason.

For me, I currently work out of my home. And I’ve done so for over 4 years. I honestly don’t think that I could go back to work in an office environment. My husband comes home from work and his clothes literally reek with perfumes from his co-workers.

I hope that she is successful in her lawsuit. It will make great headway in resolving this health issue.

Read the whole story.

Time Released Fragrance in a Deodorant

I’ve seen this on a tv commercial recently. I don’t recall the brand, which is OK because I wouldn’t give them a plug if I did remember it.

It starts out talking about how their deodorant works continuously to stop odor. Turns out that it does this by time-releasing a fragrance.

I had always though that a deodorant would work to prevent or destroy body odor, not mask it. But I check the dictionary and it defines deodorant like this:

a substance that removes or conceals unpleasant smells, esp. bodily odors.

So, masking body odor is a valid function of a deodorant. If you have problems with fragrance chemicals, you may want to keep this in mind when you look for a deodorant you can use.

If I Could Live My Life Over

I love shower time because my mind is allowed to wander aimlessly. Occasionally, it comes up with good ideas.

I don’t usually like to even think about living my life over type questions. I think they’re pointless, and can often lead to negative thoughts. BUT, sometimes, it can be a good learning tool for yourself or others, so here goes:

If I had my life to live over, I think I would have avoided ALL fragrances. I was 16 when I had my first migraine. I was able to trace it to a single perfume and deduced that I was allergic to it. (Which wasn’t technically correct, the response is not an allergic reaction.) Other perfumes didn’t bother me. At first. Then, over time, more and more fragrances began to bother me. I eliminated all perfumes and colognes from my life. I found unscented hair products, deodorants, laundry products, etc.

I kept adding to the list. I used to make a huge batch of spaghetti sauce a few times a year. I’d start it early in the morning and let it simmer all day. The aromas filled the entire house. Then I’d freeze it in dinner-for-two size portions. It makes a pretty quick meal. But in late ’03, I wound up with a bad migraine from smelling the sauce all day. And trust me, everything in that sauce was natural.

It’s one thing to have to (try to) avoid fragrances. It’s another when you have to avoid natural smells such as cooking smells.

A common migraine theory is that the triggers for a migraine are additive. So that if I get enough in my system, I wind up with a migraine. My personal theory as to why I began having migraines all the time a few years back is that the is an accumulation within the body. Thus my system reacts more readily to things that never used to bother me. So, IF I could live my life over again, here is what I would do different:

  • I would avoid all perfumes and fragrances in the products I used.
  • I would try, as much as possible, to avoid places that purposely put fragrances in the air. (Especially those I could avoid – malls, Disneyworld (yup, they do!), certain stores.) This one would be hard since in today’s world you encounter them in grocery stores.
  • I would avoid all artificial sweeteners. I used to drink a lot of diet sodas. But now they all bother me. No matter what allegedly natural sweetener they use.
  • I would avoid all nitrates and nitrates – the preservatives that allow your ham, bacon and lunch meat to seemingly last forever. I had a friend years ago who would preach against these. At the time, I thought he was a bit “over the top” about it. Turns out, he was right – there’s nothing good about them.
  • I would never touch anything with MSG in it.
  • I would definitely not have started smoking.

Would all this help? Can’t say for sure. But perhaps it is worth a try. I have a good friend who has bad reactions (worse than mine) to one or two perfumes. I think she believes I’m a bit “over the top” with all my preaching against perfumes. Except that she hasn’t really put together the fact that, in the 7 years I’ve known her, I’ve watched her add more than one fragranced product to her list. Hmmm….